ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – On Thursday, things went sideways on the Pirates in a game that marked the back half of a one-week, Great Lakes Conference home-and-home with the Elyria Catholic Panthers. A mid-game 7-5 lead crumbled under the weight of three frames’ worth of crooked numbers posted by the visiting Panthers. When it was all over, the Pirates walked off the chilled diamond of Rocky River Field under overcast skies and beneath a scoreboard the operations staff couldn’t shut off quickly enough.
That scoreboard flashed the final score: Elyria Catholic 15, Rocky River 7.
Rocky River (3-4, 1-1 GLC) – winner of an impressive 4-2 game at EC on Tuesday – was out-hit, 13-6, and committed nine errors in falling a game below .500 for the season.
The Panthers pounced in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of three Rocky River errors in scoring a trio of runs off Pirate starter Grant Eversman. The senior right-hander would fare better over innings two and three, but the Maroon & White still trailed, 4-1, when they came to bat in the home half of the third.
Freshman shortstop Braedon Spies led off the Pirate third with a walk. It’d be the first of four free passes drawn by River batters in the inning. With the benefit of those walks, a hit batsman (Spies in his second plate appearance of the inning), three EC errors and just one hit, the Pirates scored five in the inning.
The GLC foes traded solo markers in the fourth. The Panthers vaulted ahead of the Pirates in the fifth, hitting the ball hard and plating four to take a 9-7 lead. Elyria Catholic scored one of those four runs on a leadoff home run; the other three came with two outs.
And EC wasn’t finished. The Panthers scored four more runs in the sixth and then two in the seventh. All while keeping a lid on the Pirate offense.
The visiting nine finished the game with two doubles, a triple, a home run and nine singles. The Panthers drew 10 walks against three River hurlers (Eversman, Tommy Kelly, Luke Coyne) who combined to yield five earned runs in the error-ridden contest.
Kelly went 4-for-4 with a double — a fine performance to be sure, but one that proved to be too big a chunk of the over River output.
Kelly went a combined 6-for-7 with two doubles in the Pirates’ week against Elyria Catholic.
In the bigger book, which measures only wins and losses, the River Nine went 1-for-2.
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