PENFIELD TWP. — The biggest mistakes can lead to unexpected results.
Buckeye turned a baserunning gaffe into the only run in its 1-0 Cuyahoga Community College West Division II Sectional final upset of top-seeded Keystone at Penfield Community Park.
Bucks junior Josh Meyer was dominant for seven innings, allowing just three hits, but Keystone senior starter Drew Compton matched him pitch-for-pitch until the top of the fifth inning, when both teams made critical mistakes on the same play.
With two out, designated hitter Ben Grega walked, bringing senior center fielder Matt Shook to the plate. Shook worked the count to 2-2 before fouling off four straight fastballs.
Compton missed with a slider, and Shook tossed his bat aside and started jogging to first as if the pitch was the fourth ball. Grega trotted toward second while the entire Keystone bench started yelling for catcher Clay Todd to throw the ball to second baseman Jaret Bender to cut down Grega.
Grega realized his mistake, and halfway to second he started sprinting toward the bag. Todd initially hesitated, then threw late to second as Gerga slid in safely.
Shook was called back to the batter’s box, where he laced the next pitch for an RBI single to center field to drive in the only run for the eighth-seeded Bucks (12-13).
“It was one of those plays that happens once a season,” said Keystone coach Bert Fitzgerald, whose team is ranked fifth in the state coaches poll. “Usually you catch on, but I think in the heat of the moment we just lost track. It cost us.”
The run was all Meyer needed. He held the Wildcats (21-2) hitless until Justin Able led off the bottom of the fifth with a clean single to center. Todd bunted Able to second and he advanced to third on a deep flyout to left off the bat of Matt Kelling, but Meyer struck out Cameron Emerick to end the threat.
Keystone got singles in the final two innings, but could not advance the runner past first base.
Meyer struck out eight and walked just two.
“I wanted to just throw strikes and let the defense work,” he said. “I trust my defense and wanted to let them put the ball in play because I know they’ll get the outs. I had a lot of confidence because I knew the defense would do its job until we got the bats going. I knew we just needed to score.”
Of Meyer’s 89 pitches, 60 found the strike zone. In the fourth inning, he threw 10 pitches, all strikes.
Meyer got some help from catcherTyler Faught, who had the only extra-base hit in the game, a double in the sixth inning, and cut down two Wildcats trying to steal second early in the game.
Faught gunned down Turner Campbell, who led off the bottom of the second with a walk, and Compton in the fourth. Keystone didn’t test his arm again.
“I took a week off because I hurt my back and the rest really helped,” Faught said. “It really helped my arm settle and be ready. I’m lucky enough to have a shortstop that can pick it like Jake (Case). … It’s a great feeling to know even if the throw is a little off, he’s going to handle it.”
Buckeye will face fourth-seeded Firelands on Monday at CCC West in a district semifinal that will start at 4:30. p.m. The Bucks have won six in a row.
“Since we played Keystone the last time we’ve been on a roll,” coach Steve Wright said. “Our confidence level has been pretty high. We know we can play with anybody. If we can play with Keystone, we should be able to play with anybody.”
Contact Mike Perry at sports@medina-gazette-com.
Buckeye 1, Keystone 0
Buckeye AB R H BI Keystone AB R H BI
Caniglia 3 0 1 0 Bender 2 0 1 0
Matras 3 0 0 0 Mileski 2 0 0 0
Neel 3 0 0 0 Compton 3 0 0 0
Faught 3 0 1 0 Campbell 3 0 1 0
Case 3 0 0 0 Able 2 0 1 0
Matson 3 0 0 0 Todd 3 0 0 0
Bradnan 3 0 1 0 Kelling 2 0 0 0
Grega 2 1 1 0 Emerick 2 0 0 0
Shook 1 0 1 1 M. Mealwitz 3 0 0 0
Totals 24 1 5 1 Totals 21 0 3 0
BUCKEYE 000 010 0 — 1 5 1
KEYSTONE 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
LOB — Buckeye 4, Keystone 4. 2B — Faught. CS — Campbell, Compton. SAC — Shook, Emerick, Todd.
IP H R ER W K
Josh Meyer (W, 4-2) 7 3 0 0 2 8
Drew Compton (L, 8-1) 7 5 1 1 1 5