After the third inning in the first game of a double-header, the Lorain County Community College baseball team was losing 6-0 to the Ohio State University Lima Barons. Since then, the Commodores would outscore the Barons 11-1 from that point on for the rest of the day.
The Commodores would start to rally back after the fourth inning by scoring four runs in the last four innings, but it was not enough to overcome the 0-6 deficit as they lost 6-4 in the first game, but dominated the second game 7-1 to split the series on March 19, 2018.
“In the beginning of the game, (Barons) just came out hitting the ball and we talked it over with Nick (Bene),” head coach of the Commodores Bill Frawley said after the first game. “What he was doing was he was pounding the strike zone too much and he was throwing straight fastballs over the plate and they were just sticking the bat out [and get] base hits to right and base hits to center. After the third inning, we talked about and had him slow his stuff down and then he went to shut them out the next four innings. We just couldn’t muster up enough runs to get passed what we gave up in the second.”
Bene, their starting pitcher in the first game pitched a complete game and struck out eight batters, gave up two walks, three earned runs and 12 hits. After the third inning, he allowed only four hits.
The Commodores produced only one hit and a walk in the first three innings, and conceded two double-plays, which would be two of the four they suffered in the first game. Another double-play happened when the bases were loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning where catcher Tyler LaGuardia, who was on third base, was caught trying to rush home plate and was tagged out after the batter, Nate Colbert hit the ball to Lima’s second baseman.
“Our bats started out slow,” coach Frawley said. “We were hitting breaking balls rather than fastball. We weren’t hitting our pitches and then guys started hitting their pitches.”
After the third inning, they produced seven hits in their rally attempt.
The Commodores were able to stay in that same rhythm in their 7-1 victory as the sun beamed on Springer Stadium with Kevin Simon (1.38 ERA, 22nd in Division III baseball) on the mound for the Commodores.
He pitched all seven innings and allowed one earned run, two walks, six hits, and eight strikeouts.
It appeared that the Commodores defense was starting to get into trouble as top of the fourth inning started to unravel as Barons’ Logan Williams hit a double to what would have been a single or forceout at first base but was caused by an error by shortstop Commodore Jessie Barrios, who threw a pass that went past first base and gave Williams an opportunity to take second.
Williams stole third base on the next batter and then scored from an RBI single by Kyle Edgin.
The Commodores’ fielding came into play as they came up with a double-play and Simon finished out the inning with a strikeout on Johnny Schmook.
The Commodore offense was led by Bene who had three runs batted in and two stolen bases.
In one of the bases he stolen, he was caught by the pitcher with the ball in his hands; only needing one out to end the inning. The pitcher seemed to have his full attention on Bene and Bene waved the man on third base, Nate Bonacuse to head to home plate. The pitcher noticed the move but it was too last as Bonacuse scored. As the pitcher turn to home plate, Bene made a run for second base and was safe.
“I took off a little early and then I saw (Nate Bonacuse) sitting there,” Bene said. “The pitcher was completely focused on me so I just sent him home [to] get us an insurance run.”
Bene, who was playing in the left outfield was also making plays on the defensive end as well as a ball was hit fair, but was heading towards the side fence. He hustled to the ball and made an off-balanced throw to second base to get a tag-out there on the batter Gavin Lewis.
“I just got a good read off it and I just ripped it to second,” Bene said. “I lost my balance on the throw. I was surprised I got him, but it was awesome.”
After that day, the Commodores record is 2-5.