A hit to center field by Edison State Community College’s Will Ludington forced Lorain County Community College’s center fielder Noah Henderson to play him out.
He came up with the ball with the impression that he caught it and threw the ball back to second to end the top of the eighth in extra innings with a double-play, but the umpire saw it differently and ruled a no-catch, which allowed a single and also a man on third base, who would eventually make it to home plate by a sacrifice bunt to take the 3-2 lead. This would become the final score and completes the sweep against the Commodores on last Saturday to make it the fifth loss in LCCC’s last six games.
According to Commodores starting pitcher Nate Bonacuse, he saw Henderson catch the ball and lamented that the team was “extremely hostile towards the umpire.” When Henderson was asked about controversial no-catch, he too believed he caught the ball and even said the umpire “won the game.”
“Everybody saw me catch the ball,” he said. “I clearly caught the ball. We had [one out and] we should have been out of the inning and we’d still be playing.”
“I was very heated and very upset at the umpire,” Henderson said. “I don’t know why he believed that I didn’t catch the ball. I obviously caught the ball. He didn’t even call a trap. He just said, ‘no catch.’ So that is the inning-ending double-play and we are out of the game.”
A trap is when the ball barely touches the ground before the fielder acquires the ball.
Head coach of LCCC’s baseball team Bill Frawley had no comment on the no-catch call, but the general feeling in the clubhouse felt like they got robbed.
If the Commodores were to survive the inning without a run, coach Frawley would insert his ace Kevin Simon to close the game. Simon has one of the best ERAs in Division III of the NJCAA with only conceding three earned runs this year. One of those earned runs came against Edison State the last time they played.
Throughout the game in Game 2, Commodores’ starting pitcher Bonacuse, who only pitched 7.66 innings before this start was called to pitch 10 minutes before the game began and pitched a complete game with eight hits, three runs (one earned), three walks and six strikeouts against the 35 batters he faced. The fielders had one error.
“Nate (Bonacuse) pitched a hell of a game and we backed him up and we were there to win the game today,” Henderson said. “That is why we came out strong for the second game.”
Though he was told that he was pitching 10 minutes before Game 2 that he was going to be pitching. As it turns out, the short intermission benefited Bonacuse, according to him. He was able to stay loose, keep warm, and be ready to go on the cloudy cool 40-degree Saturday.
There was a total of 12 scoreless innings throughout Game 2.
The Edison State Chargers scored a run in the first inning by a ground ball-force-out by Ludington at first, which gave Chargers’ Austin McLain an open lane to the home-plate.
LCCC came out in the third inning after two scoreless innings and scored back-to-back RBIs from Nick Bene, which was his first hit all year against Edison State and Nate Colbert. The batter after Colbert (Richard Vandervort) was hit by a pitch and filled the bases, but the Chargers were able to escape the inning. Half of the Commodores’ hits came from this inning.
Other than that inning, the Commodores struggled to hit the ball. Not counting the third inning, LCCC had four hits.
“There [pitcher] was throwing curveballs and threw in a little bit of sliders,” Henderson said about Edison’s pitching. “He was throwing a little bit of a knuckleball. I think he kept us off-balanced.
In Game 1, the Commodores lost in a 14-8 shootout
LCCC’s record after the game is 12-17 and have lost the last 5-of-6 games.
The Commodores’ next home game is against Washtenaw Community College at the Pipeyard on May 6.
The Commodores swept Washtenaw the last time they played.