Poland beats Struthers 14-6 at Cene Park
By BRIAN DZENIS
What wasn’t on the scoreboard was just as big for Poland’s baseball team as what the Bulldogs put on it Thursday at Cene Park.
The runs and the hits were there in a 14-6 win against Struthers, but the Bulldogs kept their errors low and that pleased coach Rich Murray.
Poland opened its season with an error-filled 9-8 defeat against Girard.
“We made everything. We made seven errors last week, so to make one error in the cold weather today was nice,” Murray said. “We made the routine plays.”
The lone error was a botched throw to first in the fifth, well after the game was decided.
“I think we were all more relaxed,” Poland first baseman Zachary Yaskulka said. “In that first game, we were a little nervous, but we got out there and relaxed and played like we knew how to play.”
Poland (1-1) broke a 4-4 stalemate with an eight-run fourth inning. Cole Kosco and Alex Barth each hit an RBI double, Braeden O’Shaughnessy hit a two-run triple and Mason McCurdy had an RBI single. Two runs were scored on a single wild pitch. Yaskulka suicide squeezed home another run.
“I just think after seeing the pitcher for the third time, we saw the ball better,” Yaskulka said. “We relaxed in there and just swung.”
Yaskulka was 3 for 4 with two doubles and four RBI. Kosco was 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs.
Struthers starter Stephen Mistovich was chased after giving up four of those eight runs in the fourth. He gave up eight runs on eight hits with four walks and a strikeout.
“We lost a little bit of focus in the fourth inning. We made some costly errors and mistakes,” Struthers coach Eric Barone said. “Overall, our effort was there tonight and we played a complete game even though the scoreboard didn’t reflect that. We have to keep grinding and keep those big innings out of the way.”
Struthers (0-2) is in its first season under Barone after he previously held the same role at East Palestine. The first game under Barone was a 8-3 loss to Lakeview. The Wildcats were 4-16 last year.
“The seniors and juniors have really shown great leadership and we’ve got a big sophomore class that’s bought in,” Barone said. “We’re taking a step in the right direction in my eyes. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to turn everything around.”
Sturhters made it a game in the first few innings. The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the first on on a suicide squeeze and Jared Laczko’s RBI single. Poland responded with a two-run double from Yaskulka. Mistovich and Chad Laczko each had RBI singles in the second period.
The Wildcats concluded their scoring with Jared Laczko coming home on a fielder’s choice in the fifth and JD Hall rolled over home plate after a wild pitch.
Poland starter Matt Sperati gave up four runs on six hits and four walks with one strikeout. Ryan Johnson came in to finish the contest in the fourth inning after Sperati gave up his fourth run. He gave up two runs on two hits and three walks, striking out two and hitting a batter.