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Last season, Twinsburg baseball suffered six losses. Half of those defeats came against one opponent: Nordonia.
While coach Don Jones insisted this year's series with the Knights did not have any extra significance, there was certainly some intensity when the two neighbors met last week.
"It's always been a war in every sport between the two schools," Jones said. "The kids grow up together and they know each other well. It's a lot of fun competing against them. This year, those two games were great games to play in."
On April 25 at Nordonia, Twinsburg erased an early 3-0 deficit to score a 4-3 win. Then on April 25 at Dodge Field, Nordonia returned the favor, as the Knights scored a 5-4 win in nine innings.
On April 27, Twinsburg lost 4-3 in nine innings at Shaker Heights, thanks to a walk-off home run by the Red Raiders' Wyatt Eisen.
Twinsburg's record stood at 11-8 overall, 7-5 in the Suburban League National Conference as of press time.
In game one against Nordonia, Twinsburg was down 3-0 after two innings, but starting pitcher Ryan Christy was lights out after the second. Christy (6-0) pitched a complete game, allowing three earned runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts.
However, Christy also suffered a foot injury during the game. According to Jones, it's unclear if he will be able to return this season.
Twinsburg scored all four of its runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Second baseman Jason Stahlman led off with a single, stole second and came home on an RBI single by Cristian Tejada. Christy then doubled to put runners on second and third before Chad Szydlowski hit a two-run double to tie the game at 3-3.
Dylan Jackson then came through with an RBI single to score Szydlowski and make it 4-3.
On April 26, Stahlman started for the Tigers, giving up four runs off nine hits in four innings of work. A four-run second inning gave Nordonia the lead.
Carinci (1-1) took the loss, despite allowing just one run on two hits in five innings of relief.
Twinsburg scored three runs in the third inning and one in the fifth to tie the game at 4-4.
Tejada went 3-of-5 with two doubles and three RBIs, while Stalhman went 2-of-5 with two singles and a stolen base. Bobby Delegram added two singles, while Tyler Gairing had a double, a single and an RBI.
Nordonia scored the winning run off an RBI double from designated hitter Peter Toula in the top of the ninth inning.
Jones said it was another "great game" vs. Shaker, despite Twinsburg missing Christy and Tejada.
Senior Carson Leo had a good outing, pitching seven innings, allowing two unearned runs off two hits. Ethan Bernhard (1-1) took the loss, giving up two runs in the ninth inning.
Carinci had a double, a single and an RBI, while Justin Laley belted a solo home run in the loss. Stahlman added two singles.
A balk in the top of the ninth inning allowed Szydlowski to score and give Twinsburg a 3-2 lead. However, Eisen's two-run home run in the bottom the ninth ended the game.
"I give [Eisen] a ton of credit," Jones said. "He went down and got a good pitch and he belted it."
Twinsburg's game with Struthers April 29 was rained out. Results of the Tigers' home game with Cuyahoga Falls were not available at press time.
Twinsburg plays at Cuyahoga Falls May 3 at 4:30 p.m., will play Mayfield May 5 at 7 pm. at Classic Park in Eastlake and will take on Kenston May 6 at 1 p.m. at Kent State University.
The Tigers also learned their postseason fate at the Division I Hudson district tournament draw April 30. Twinsburg was given the No. 5 seed behind Solon, Aurora, Hudson and Nordonia.
Twinsburg will open the postseason by hosting Cleveland John Adams April 11 at 4:30 p.m.