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Williams' no-hitter leads Tigers

By MICHAEL LEONARD Sports Editor Published: May 9, 2017 12:00 AM
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TWINSBURG -- When Twinsburg baseball played its first game with Cuyahoga Falls May 3 at Water Works Park, the Black Tigers gave it everything it could handle.

Twinsburg took an early 5-0 lead over Falls, only to see the Black Tigers rally to tie it at 5-5. Twinsburg needed nine innings to score an 8-5 win.

Constant rain then threw a wrench in Twinsburg's schedule, though the Tigers were able to get a game in May 7 at Classic Park in Eastlake. Twinsburg defeated Mayfield 14-4 at the home field of the Lake County Captains.

Thus, Twinsburg was wary when Falls visited Dodge Field for the return game May 8.

Twinsburg left nothing to chance, playing one of its most complete games of the season.

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Junior pitcher Sean Williams (2-1) tossed a no-hitter against the Black Tigers as Twinsburg's bats struck early and often. The result was an 11-1 win for Twinsburg in six innings, as the game was shortened by the 10-run mercy rule.

Twinsburg's record stood at 14-8 as of press time. The Tigers finished 9-5 in the Suburban League National Conference. Cuyahoga Falls fell to 4-17, 1-12 in the National Conference with the loss.

Twinsburg coach Don Jones lauded Williams for his effort.

"When he's around the strike zone, he is very effective," Jones said. "Sean has a lot of confidence. He was ready from the moment he came out of the bullpen today."

Williams said he felt like both his fastball and slider were working well in the game.

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"[Jones] said be just more built than they were," Williams said.

Falls coach Scott Koenig was disgusted with his team's approach at the plate.

"I don't understand why we couldn't hit him," Koenig said. "He was throwing right over the plate and we swung right through it.

"Every time we play a good game, we seem to take two steps back," he said. "Nobody looked ready to play today."

Williams struck out the side in the first two innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts and four walks in the six-inning no-hitter. Twinsburg also played error-free ball behind him.

By contrast, Twinsburg jumped on Falls starter Alex Valente (2-2) for five runs in the bottom of the first.

Shortstop Jason Stahlman led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by center fielder Tyler Gairing.

Catcher Chad Szydlowski then singled home his cousin -- second baseman Jon Szydlowski -- to make it 2-0, followed by a walk to first baseman Jake Carinci.

An RBI single by right fielder Ethan Bernhard made it 3-0 and forced Koenig to relieve Valente with Kyle Borton.

A wild pitch allowed Carinci to score and Bernhard scored on an error to make it 5-0.

Bernhard had a great day at the plate, going 3-of-4 with three singles and four RBIs.

Twinsburg made it 6-0 in the second inning when Gairing doubled and Carinci hit an RBI single.

In the fourth inning, Stahlman led off with a double and scored on a two-out double from Chad Szydlowski. After a single by Carinci, an RBI single from Bernhard made it 8-0.

Falls was able to break up the shutout in the top of the sixth inning. First baseman Ben Kinker walked, stole second and went to third base on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Pat Horrigan.

Pinch hitter Caleb Puchajda then hit sacrifice fly to deep left, allowing Kinker to score.

In the bottom of the sixth, however, Falls' reliever Alex Kolvey hit both Gairing and Chad Szydlowski with pitches and was relieved by Zak Allen.

The runners moved up on a ground out and Bernhard hit a two-run single to right to to make it 10-1.

Bernhard was retired on a fielder's choice by third baseman Dylan Jackson, which brought Williams to the plate.

Williams smacked a single to right, which was mishandled by the right fielder. The bobble allowed Jackson to score all the way from first base to invoke the mercy rule.

"I thought we had a great approach at the plate today," Jones said. "We came with a focus tonight and it showed."

The Tigers were set to play Kenston May 9, but results were not available at press time.

Twinsburg was set to close the regular season by hosting Crestwood May 10 at 4:30 p.m.

Much to Jones' dismay, Cleveland John Adams opted not to play its playoff opener with Twinsburg, giving the Tigers a bye to the sectional final with four-seeded Nordonia.

With Twinsburg's prom set for May 12, Jones said the Division I sectional final will be played May 13 at noon at Nordonia.

"They're an excellent baseball club," Jones said of the Knights. "We absolutely love a challenge and this will be a challenge."

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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