By Pete Mollica
Canfield High’s baseball team has been a hard fighting, scrapping team all season long.
Friday the Cardinals (15-9) tried in vain, but just couldn’t pull out another come-from-behind win in a 9-6 loss to Mentor Lake Catholic in the Division II regional semifinal matchup.
Canfield battled right with Lake Catholic (24-5) through the first five innings, trailing just 7-6, but a two-run sixth inning put the game away.
“We struggled just too much on the mound today,” said Canfield coach Matt Koenig. “We gave up too many [walks] and most of those came around to score.”
Canfield pitching issued seven walks and hit a batter. Four of those walks came in the fourth innng when Lake Catholic scored three runs on just one hit.
“We did take advantage of their mistakes,” said Lake Catholic coach Dennis Wood. “But they also took advantage of our mistakes.
“There is a lot of pressure on these kids and that’s just what they are, 16- and 17-year old kids,” Wood added. “Pressure will do funny things to a team as we just saw today.”
Besides the walks and the two Canfield errors, Lake Catholic also pounded out 12 hits, including four in the fifth and five in the sixth when they scored five times.
“They got the clutch hits when they needed them,” said Koenig. “We just didn’t get the hits when we needed them.
“But I’m so proud of this team, they’ve battled all season long and they’ve been so resilient.” Canfield had eight hits, including three by senior Tim Cheslik, one of those being a double. Junior Anthony Ross added two hits and Ben Angelo contributed a double.
Lake Catholic took the early lead scoring once in the second when Bryan Blondeaux led off with a double, was sacrificed to third by Lou Peterlin and scored on Billy Salem’s sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals took the lead in the third as junior Joe Tuchek and senior Brock McGivern both singled. Tuchek scored on an error and McGivern scored on a single by Cheslik.
Lake Catholic regained the lead in the fourth, scoring two runs on walks and another on an infield hit.
But the Cardinals responded by tying the contest in the bottom of the fourth on an Angelo double, error and wild pitch.
Lake Catholic scored three runs more in the fifth, on RBI singles by Peterlin and Jeremy Pittsenberger.
Mike Wittman walked to lead off Canfield’s fifth and Cheslik followed with a double. Wittman scored on a groundout and Cheslik came home on a wild pitch.
But Lake Catholic put the game away in the sixth with four hits, including Adam Urbania’s double. Giancarlo Saia and Peterlin had RBIs.
Zach Frate, the third Lake pitcher, got the win by retiring the Cardinals in order over the final two innings.