By Joe Scalzo
Creekside Fitness pitcher John Schreiber stands all of 5-foot-10, weighs 160 pounds, wears braces and looks more like a sophomore second baseman than a Kent State recruit.
Just ask him.
“I’m a small little lefty just trying to keep ’em off balance,” he said.
Schreiber did a lot more than that in Wednesday’s Connie Mack state championship game, pitching 32/3 innings of one-hit relief to lead the Purple Reign past Hurricanes Select, 7-1, at Cene Park.
“My pitching came through big-time,” said Creekside manager Terry Landis, whose team defeated Diamond Boys 2-1 in Wednesday’s semifinal. “Jimmy Kenosh was excellent for us in the first game, then [Mike] Stryffeler came in and gave us [31/3] innings, then John was terrific.
“I’ll tell you what, Schreiber’s crafty. He’s gonna be a good one.”
Schreiber’s first two outs were the game’s biggest, coming on with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. He struck out leadoff batter Colin McManamon, then got Garrett Strom to ground into a fielder’s choice at shortstop.
“Coach told me to be ready,” said Schreiber, a Mayfield High graduate who often stays with teammate Gino DiVincenzo to avoid the daily commute. “My arm was a little sore [from pitching on Sunday] but once the adrenaline gets going, you can do whatever.”
Schreiber finished with six strikeouts — including four straight at one point — and Creekside broke the game open with four runs in the fifth inning to make it 6-1.
Creekside also played flawlessly defensively, particularly shortstop Mitch Wood — “He’s getting better every game,” Landis said — while Hurricanes Select had two errors and easily could have been charged with two more.
“We were sharp [defensively],” said Landis, whose team also won the Class B championship. “We’ve been sharp all year, other than one or two bad games. We started to hit the ball, bunt the ball, make some plays and we made a couple of double plays to get us out of some jams. We just played excellent baseball.
“Defense and pitching — that’s what’s put us in all our games and that’s what makes us a good ballclub.”
Ted Williams went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs for Creekside. Cal Miller added a double, two singles and two runs, Tyler Walters singled and drove in two runs and Wood had a double.
Creekside has played 46 games already this summer, so Landis will give his team some rest before playing in the NABF Senior World Series, which begins July 24 at Cene Park.
“I think we need a little rest now,” he said.
Todd Andrews had an RBI single to score McManamon for the Hurricanes, who managed just three hits.
Creekside 2, Diamond Boys 1
Kyle Wise hit a walk-off single to left field score Nick Longo from third base in the bottom of the seventh of the Connie Mack semifinal.
Longo led off with a walk, moved to second on a bunt and third on a groundout.
Walters added a RBI triple for Creekside in the third inning to score Miller, who singled.
Kenosh went the distance, giving up an unearned run on three hits with five strikeouts.
Zac George hit a RBI single for Diamond Boys.