When the Garaway Pirates play defense the way they are capable of playing, they become one tough customer. On Tuesday, May 2 in Sugarcreek, the Pirates go the defensive effort that was necessary to fend off a capable Ridgewood generals team. Garaway committed a lone error, and got great pitching from BJ Schwartz and Josh Yoder in carving out a 6-1 victory.
The key inning was the first frame, when the Pirates scored three runs to spot their pitchers all of the runs they would need to claim the victory and advance to 15-5 and 10-2 in Inter Valley Conference play.
Schwartz helped himself by leading off with a single and taking second on a sacrifice bunt by Trey Hershberger, who reached when Ridgewood failed to handle the bunt. Quinn Miller then laced a shot right at the center-fielder for out number two, but Ryan Aleshire came through with a big RBI single. One out later, Micha VanFossen came through by delivering a rather large two-out, two-run single to make it 3-0.
From that point on, pitching was at a premium and base runners were few and far between for both teams, as Schwartz and Kolton Alexander settled in for a pitcher’s duel.
Schwartz retired the first six hitters in the first two innings, but Ridgewood finally got to him for lone single in the third.
Schwartz and Trey Hershberger hit back-to-back singles in the second, but Schwartz was erased trying to steal second. Alexander did not allow a Pirates base runner to advance past first base from the second to the sixth inning, and Ridgewood got a run closer in the fourth. A single, a walk and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners with one out, and Keith Leindecker lined a single to make it 3-1. Schwartz then gave up a walk, but escaped the bases-loaded danger by inducing a high fly out to left.
Ridgewood would make things uncomfortable in the bottom of the sixth, when it would load the bases against Yoder. However, the freshman twirled his way out of trouble after giving up a double and a pair of walks to open the inning, by getting a key strikeout, a liner to center and ending the threat by inducing a ground-out to short.
Garaway finally was able to get back on the scoreboard again in its final at bat. Ben Koshmider led off with a single but was forced out at second by Peyton Miller. Schwartz reached courtesy of an error, and again Trey Hershberger’s safety squeeze bunt went mishandled by the Generals, allowing Miller to score and Hershberger to reach base. Quinn Miller then delivered a sacrifice fly and Hershberger came around on a wild pitch to put Garaway up 6-1.
Yoder then took command on the mound, striking out the side around a walk to end the game.
VanFossen paced the Pirates with a two-hit performance that saw him drive in two runs. Schwartz also collected a pair of hits and scored twice. Schwartz went five strong innings on the mound to gain the win for the Pirates, scattering four hits, giving up the lone Generals run while striking out seen and walking three. Josh Yoder came on in relief to toss two scoreless innings of no-hit baseball in which he struck out four and walked a pair.
Alexander was masterful on the mound after that first inning, going five nice innings, allowing only one earned run on six hits. Garaway touched up reliever Brice Dennis for three unearned runs in the seventh.