Prep Baseball Report

No. 10 Moeller Takes Down No. 1 Strongsville

It may have been early April, but Saturday’s contest between #1 Strongsville and #10 Moeller had the feel of a June playoff game.

With senior southpaw John Tanner on the mound, Moeller didn’t spare Strongsville the challenge of facing one of their top arms.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound lefty, who is committed to Ohio University for football, displayed an 83-86 mph fastball along with a 73-76 mph curveball and an excellent 72-74 mph changeup.

In the top of the first, Strongsville threatened after senior John Sabolik walked and senior Will Cicerchi advanced on a fielding error by first baseman Brad Macciocchi (WSU recruit). Bearing down, Tanner attacked unsigned senior Brennan Singleton and struck him out swinging on a fading changeup.

Moeller came out in the bottom of the first with the bats ready. Ty Amann (OU recruit) led off the inning with an infield single. Unsigned senior outfielder Ryan LeFevers followed with a single to right field. But, Amann, who rounded the bag too far, was thrown out.

After stealing second base, LeFevers eventually scored on a single up the middle by junior standout Spencer Iacovone, who was 2 for 3 in the game.

Moeller’s Zack Shannon and Cameron Whitehead each walked to load the bases, but Jordan Simpson (Furman recruit) was retired on a groundout to the second baseman.

Strongsville responded in the top of the second after junior Ben Szymczak walked and advanced to second base on a stolen base and later third base on a wild pitch. With two outs, junior Brad Weimken walked. In the following play, Weimken was picked off of first base, but he wasn’t tagged out before Szymczak managed to score from third.

Moeller countered with another run in the bottom of the second after sophomore Riley Mahan walked. Amann followed with a walk and LeFevers added his second hit of the day to right field to score Mahan. However, Moeller took themselves out of another scoring opportunity with a base running mistake as LeFevers overran second base.

Strongsville didn’t sit idle. In the top of the third, Cicerchi and senior Kory Hall singled and eventually scored on a throwing error by Mahan, who attempted to make a tough play on a slow roller at third base. This tilted the score 3-2 in Strongsville’s favor.

Strongsville starting pitcher Connor Ryan, an unsigned senior southpaw, eventually retired the Moeller lineup in order in the third and the fourth. Ryan displayed an 80-84 mph fastball that reached up to 86 mph and a 73-75 mph sweeping breaking ball. At times, he struggled with command as he walked 3, hit one batter, and struck out 4 in his four innings of work.

Strongsville led off the top of the fourth with a single by Szymczak, who was picked off at first base. Senior Dan Stewart followed with a single and later scored on an overthrow by Moeller catcher Cameron Whitehead. Forrest Perron (UC recruit) followed with a single and scored on a single up the middle by Sabolik to increase the lead to 5-2.

Moeller unsigned senior Brian Burkhart kept the Mustangs at bay during the last 3 innings. Burkhart displayed an 83-86 mph fastball with excellent arm side run as well as a 73-75 mph breaking ball.

His counter part, senior Kyle Toma (Mercyhurst commit), did the same in the 5th and the 6th.

But, the bottom of the 7th was a different story.

Despite striking out to lead off the inning, sophomore Riley Mahan advanced to first base on a passed ball by the catcher.

Amann quickly followed with a double to the left field gap. LeFevers collected his second RBI of the day with a ground ball to the right side.

Now, with a 5-3 score, Moeller junior Brian Butz delivered a single to left field to score LeFevers and put the tying run at first.

Toma responded by retiring Iacovone for the second out of the inning.

With two outs and a 5-4 score, Strongsville’s staff positioned their outfielders deep to keep the ball in front.

Still, sophomore Zack Shannon (OSU recruit) somehow managed to hit a line drive triple into deep right center to score Butz from first and put the winning run on base.

Soon after, junior Cam Whitehead delivered a walk-off single to right field to score the winning run and put Moeller on top 6-5.

The two squads will meet again at Dublin Jerome on May 5th for a rematch.