By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Noah Pierce (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) and Jake Wojciechowski (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) tossed two gems to help the Owens Community College baseball team pick up a split against No. 6 Cuyahoga Community College to close its home field this afternoon.
With the split, Owens improves to 30-13 overall and 11-5 in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play. It is the program's first 30 win season since 2010 and the 10th overall in program history. Earlier this season, the college announced the suspension of the program beginning in 2016-17, and today's double dip was the home finale.
Furthermore, with today's results, Owens finished second in OCCAC play, one game ahead of No. 9 Sinclair Community College. Their 11 wins marked the most in conference play for an Owens team since the 2009 team went 11-5.
Owens will open postseason play in the Sub-Region XII tournament May 13-15 at Vincennes University. The seeding will be done by a blind draw.
Game 1: Cuyahoga d. Owens 4-3 in 8 Innings
Wojciechowski experienced a tough luck no decision in today's first game. The freshman right-handed pitcher didn't face more than four batters in six of his innings, while Cuyahoga broke through for three runs in the third.
Casey Gose (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) was hit by the pitch to start the first scoring rally for Owens in the first inning. He advanced to third on an error when Jake Schmeltz (Eastwood/Perrysburg, Ohio) attempted a sacrifice bunt and came around to score when Ty Suntken (Wauseon/Wauseon, Ohio) grounded into a double play.
Owens added two more runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Zach Souter (Huron/Huron, Ohio) and Devin Burns (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) led off the inning with a pair of singles. Nick Wolfe (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) then drove both runners home with a triple down the right field line, but couldn't score as Owens stranded a key runner.
Following that, Cuyahoga's starter, Max Lavisky, scattered five singles to pick up the complete game win. The closest Owens came to scoring following the first inning came when Stephen Parker (Eisenhower/Shelby Township, Mich.) and Gose reached second and third with one out in the fifth, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat.
Cuyahoga's offense produced their first three runs in the third inning on a pair of RBI singles and a sacrifice fly. Wojciechowski stranded the bases loaded with a flyout to center.
Billy Todorowski (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) relieved Wojciechowski to begin the eighth. A leadoff single from Manny Rodriguez turned into the game-winning run when Tyler Deutsch knocked him in three batters later.
Todorowski fell to 0-2 on the season with the loss. He prevented further damage in the eight by striking out the final two batters to strand a pair of runners.
Wojciechowski, meanwhile, allowed just five hits, three runs and three walks while striking out five in his seven innings of work. He finishes the regular season with a 2-1 record and a 2.12 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 29.2 innings. In conference play, he produced a 2.49 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.
Burns (2-for-3, R) and Wolfe (1-for-3, 2 RBI) led the Owens offense, which finished 8-for-29 in the game off Lavisky, who improved to 9-1 overall with the win.
John Izquierdo went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Cuyahoga offense.
Game 2: Owens d. Cuyahoga 3-1 in 7 Innings
Pierce was the story of the game in today's finale. The freshman right-handed pitcher joined reliever Quintin Cantelli (Perkins/Sandusky, Ohio) in throwing a combined one-hitter.
Over the first six innings, Pierce faced just four over the minimum. He retired the side in the first and fifth innings and allowed more than one baserunner just twice.
Cuyahoga's only hit in the game came on a bunt single to third base in the fourth inning of a scoreless game at the time. Pierce hit the next batter, but induced a 4-6-3 double play on the first pitch to Izquierdo.
Schmeltz reached on an error to begin the fourth inning and advanced all the way to third on the throw. He then scored on a wild pitch for the game's first run.
Suntken followed with a single, and Souter moved him to third with a single through the right side on a hit and run. Following a strikeout, Burns knocked Suntken in with a single up the middle before Kyle Kozlaker (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) closed the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center.
Pierce gave up his only run in the sixth inning when a pair of walks and wild pitches plus a balk scored Deutsch. He induced a 6-3 groundout to strand Rodriguez on third, though, and keep Owens up two.
Cantelli relieved Pierce for the seventh and proceded to hit back-to-back batters with one out, but a flyout and a strikeout ended the game.
As a team, Owens finished with four hits - all from different players, who were Schmeltz (1-for-3, R), Suntken (1-for-1, R, BB), Souter (1-for-3, R) and Burns (1-for-2, RBI).
Pierce, who allowed four walks in his six innings, struck out three while improving his record to 5-0 this year. Cantelli picked up his second save of the season.
Mitch Cromley, Cuyahoga's starter, fell to 4-1 after allowing four hits, three runs (one earned) and one walk over six innings.
Pierce, who got his first start of the conference season, lowered his season ERA to 3.41 and moved into second place on the team in wins behind Michael Finch (Norwalk/Norwalk, Ohio) and Grant Peters (Eastwood/Pemberville, Ohio), who each have six.
As a staff, Owens has struck out 307 batters over 292 innings this year. In conference play, they have 122 strikeouts in 111 innings.
Four Owens batters finished within the top 10 of the league in batting average. Suntken (.438) and Gose (.429) finished as the second and third best among all teams. Schmeltz came in sixth at .382, while Jake Wichlacz (Eisenhower/Macomb, Mich.) came in eighth at .367.
Wolfe led the OCCAC in triples with three.
The five losses for Owens in conference play came by a combined eight runs. Both of the losses to Sinclair came by one run, and one of the losses to Cuyahoga was by one run. Two of the five losses came in extra innings.