By Greg GULAS
In 1973, Cleveland’s Brad Cisar was a member of the Cleveland Go team that won the Youngstown AABC Connie Mack baseball tournament, which was held at Campbell’s Roosevelt Park.
His Cleveland Player I Bulls entry in this year’s tourney made sure he was treated to a successful return.
Cisar’s son, Brad, Jr., scattered three hits, struck out nine and withstood a furious bases-loaded rally in the sixth inning as the Bulls defeated the Astro Falcons, 1-0 in opening round play Sunday at Cene Park.
They will now play the winner of today’s 10 a.m. game between Andy’s 9ersand Springfield Armoloy at 5:30 p.m.
Forced to start four hours late due to rain, Cisar made sure his Bulls didn’t get complacent during the delay.
“We have quite a few young players on our team and didn’t want anyone to get complacent. We had a chance to get a bite to eat, took a couple good rounds of batting and basically tried to keep everyone loose,” Cisar said. “With a win we wouldn’t have to play until 5:30 p.m. on Monday but a loss and we were back here at 12:30 p.m. That was enough motivation for us to want to win.”
The Bulls scored the eventual game-winner in their half of the second inning when Chris MaKaryk’s infield grounder plated Nate Blake for the early run advantage.
Blake, who had reached on a fielder’s choice with one down, advanced to third after an errant pickoff attempt by Astro Falcons starter Jim Leon and then scored two pitches later.
Cisar, who registered five strikeouts looking, said the delay wasn’t a problem.
“When they loaded the bases in the sixth inning I was just thinking minimize the damage, get back to the dugout and get ready to hit,” he said. “It’s a little tense at times when you only have a one-run lead so credit our defense because they made some excellent plays when we needed them most. My fastball was really working tonight and I was able to keep it low while hitting my spots.”
Neither team had a problem producing baserunners. Getting them home was a totally different story.
The Astro Falcons stranded eight runners while the Bulls left seven runners on base, including six in the final four innings.
“Take your hats off to Brad [Cisar] because he threw an excellent game for Cleveland tonight. He hit the corners, kept us off balance at the plate and when you leave eight runners it gets really tough to fight your way back,” Astro Falcons manager Andy Timko said. “We’ll learn from this, regroup and now look to get back on the winning track [today].”
The Astro Falcons fall to the losers bracket and will play today at 12:30 p.m. against the loser of the Andy’s 9ers-Springfield Armoloy contest.