For the first time this season, the Lorain County Community College baseball team played in the Pipeyard in Lorain. They started their tenure there by outscoring Washtenaw Community College 21-1 in the double-header they played on the 21st of April.
The final score of the first game was 11-1 in the five innings that they played on the dirt of the Pipeyard. Kevin Simon, who has a .73 ERA, allowed three hits, one run, two walks, and eight strikeouts against the 19 batters in the 5-inning stretch where he had another complete game. This puts him at a 4-way tie for the top spot in the third division of the NJCAA for the most complete games. Among those in first, he has the lowest ERA and most strikeouts per nine innings.
“That’s a great accomplishment,” Simon said about his complete games. “That’s what I’ve always dreamed of. I want to go pro someday. I want to be the best and I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Simon, in the top of the first inning, pitched three straight strikeouts.
“When we got Kevin (Simon) on the mound, we feel like we have a good chance to win,” Commodores lead-off hitter Noah Henderson said. “When we get the hits going, we want to give him run support so we definitely come out swinging.”
Henderson was 3-of-3 at the plate with a RBI and crossed home plate three times.
“Kevin (Simon) has been pitching very well when we have him go on the mound,” head coach Bill Frawley said. “Pretty much the team is expecting him to go as long as he can and we are all expecting a good game if he goes out there.”
Coach Frawley said has the possibility to have two more opportunities to have complete games before the season ends.
At bat, the Commodores had a .416 batting average and only struck out once. The Commodores scored three runs in the first three innings, but when on a 8-run tear in the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the fifth inning, the first three batters got the bases loaded to set up for shortstop Jessie Barrios with a top 40 slugging percentage and .520 on base percentage to hit a two RBI double, which sparked the 8-run inning.
Throughout the day, the Commodores were stealing the bases at will. They accumulated 14 stolen bases in a 2-game stretch. The catchers for Washtenaw were struggling to make the throws to second base, which open the door for the Commodores. Henderson with four bases stolen on the day, noticed the flaw in their catchers.
“You always gotta pick up the small things in baseball,” he said. That is how you win games. So, if we can see that the coach believes in us and the coach thinks we can steal bases and we’re gonna do it and that is what we are gonna do.”
Coach Frawley noticed that the Pipeyard had dirt grounds and not the turf that the team was used to playing at their old home field of Sprenger Stadium. He explained the difference between the dirt and turf after the first game.
“[Being on dirt] is a major difference,” he said. “The ball hops [from ground balls] takes a crazy hop compared to turf where everything is basically where it’s at.”
One person who like the Pipeyard was Henderson who thinks that they will win all their home games.
Game 2 introduced the return of one of their best pitchers, Nick Bene, who hasn’t pitched since the eighth of April. In his first game back, he pitched a 1-hit shutout in six innings. He also had three walks and nine strikeouts in the 10-0 win.
Offensively Henderson, Barrios and center fielder Gavin Taulbee led the way with a combine seven RBIs and six stolen bases.
Washtenaw had to play with one less outfielder in the game, because Jake Albaugh was injured and unable to play. This made the gaps bigger for the Commodores.
“They had only two outfielders out and with a righty up and shift into left [field] and just go opposite field and just find the holes out there, because, obviously, there is more when there is only two outfielders out there,” Bene said.
The Commodores record after that their double-header against Washtenaw is 11-12.