Errors doom Mooney in Division II title matchup
By john bassetti
Somebody said it best when they remarked, “It’s an ugly game so far.”
The ugliness was Cardinal Mooney’s part in an 8-0 loss to Canfield and it was uttered before Canfield’s offense kicked in during the sixth inning of the Division II championship baseball game at Cene Park on Friday.
Through 51/2 innings, Mooney (17-12) was out-hitting Canfield, 5-3, yet Mooney trailed, 5-0, with most of the damage from five errors.
“I’m really happy how we played, defensively. We struggled a little bit, offensively,” Canfield coach Matt Koenig said, “but I think their pitcher settled down a little bit [after the first inning] and we were able to capitalize on some mistakes they had. We got some timely hits and were able to make plays when we needed to.”
Koenig was referring to two pickoffs by Tony Mehle (5-1) that shortened the third and fifth innings; two defensive plays by shortstop Joe Tuchek and alert base-running.
“Huge,” Koenig said of Tuchek’s contribution. “He has been very solid for us all year long. He is a tremendous athlete who excels on the football field as well as out here. He [had two hits and] made some great plays, defensively. That one in the hole where he got the guy at second base was just tremendous.”
Koenig was referring to a dive to stop Dan D’Andrea’s grounder, then, while on the ground, throwing to second baseman Mike Ross to get Drew Beck for end the fourth inning.
In the sixth, the senior leaped and stretched to get a high bouncer before making a throw to first to get Mooney’s leadoff hitter, Pat Markovich.
Canfield took a 3-0 lead on three hits and two Mooney errors in the first inning. After Ben Angelo scored on Michael Wittman’s sacrifice fly, a high throw on a pickoff attempt to get Tuchek allowed Anthony Ross to come home for a 2-0 lead. Tuchek then scored on Mehle’s sacrifice fly.
Canfield (19-4) plays Canton South in the Hudson regional on May 24 at 5 p.m.
Canfield lost to Mentor Lake Catholic in the regional semifinals last year.
Of the back-to-back regional appearances, Koenig said: “A lot of the guys who are seniors this year played quite a bit last year, so they know exactly what was needed to get back to regionals.”
Mooney coach Al Franceschelli said his team didn’t play its normal game.
“We kind of kicked it around and gave up five runs on three hits. That kind of set the tone for them. We came in wanting them to hit the ball, but we didn’t do that. Instead, we kind of gave them every opportunity with the walks and errors [six errors plus 4-5 more mental errors that not even registered], so that’s kind of tough. You’re not going to beat a team that good making 10-11 errors.”