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Bruins keep hopes alive

April 17, 2012
By RALPH COX - Sports correspondent , The Herald-Star

WEIRTON - The Brooke baseball Bruins pestered four Weir High pitchers with 13 hits and they took advantage of eight Red Rider errors as they waltzed to an 18-5 victory in a game shortened to five innings by the mercy rule at Ed Bowman Field Monday.

Brooke keeps its slim chances alive to slide into fourth place in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 5A standings.

The Bruins sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning and 13 in the fifth inning.

Article Photos

SAFE AT SECOND — Brooke’s Mario Lombardi is safe at second base while Weir High’s Josh Russell retrieves the ball in the third inning Monday at Bowman Field.
-- Mike Mathison

After Brooke scored two runs in the top of the first inning, the Red Riders, who were losing their 11th game in 15 starts, exploded for five runs in the bottom of the second to take a 5-2 lead.

However, that lead was short lived when the Bruins answered with seven tallies in the top of the third inning and tacked on two in the fourth and seven more in the fifth.

"I'm proud of the job we did tonight after getting behind early in the game," said Ron Ujcich, whose Bruins evened their record at 9-9. "Even though we came back and got the lead, we still have to take care of business and do things the right way. We can't get lackadaisical in a game like this. We just have to continue to treat every pitch like it was in a championship game."

Sophomore Heath Hildreth was the beneficiary of the Bruin onslaught. He was very efficient, scattering four hits. He walked three and stuck out three going the five innings.

Weir High starter, Mitch Viakley took the loss going 2 innings. He gave up just four hits while walking three and getting one strikeout. Zac Knuutila pitched two- thirds of an inning, Michael Curtis worked the fourth inning and Matt Cessna hurled the fifth.

"We only showed up that one inning where we scored five runs," said Red Rider coach Bob Rosnick. "That was it. I just hope we can get better. We practice and play every day. Hopefully, some day it will click and we'll starting making the plays. We just have to try harder."

Brooke opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Russell Schwertfeger led off with a bloop single to center field. He stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored when senior catcher, Nick Breen hit a grounder to deep shortstop. Schwertfeger took off for home plate and scored under the throw from Josh Russell. Breen later scored with Paul DiPasquale's ground ball to second base was misplayed.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Red Riders got to Hildreth a little bit. Senior first baseman Ryan Mendenhall led off the inning by ripping a double into the left-center field gap and scored on Cessna's hit.

Curtis drew a walk from Hildreth. Cessna scored on Harley Mills' hit to left field and Curtis and Mills scored on Ryan Duke's single to center. Duke scored the fifth run of the inning when the Bruins misplayed Russell's fly ball in left field.

That was all of the scoring for Weir High as the Bruins paraded 12 batters to the plate to erase the Red Rider lead and go ahead 9-5 in the third inning.

Hildreth, who helped his own cause with three hits and four runs batted in singled in the big inning as did Breen, who also collected three hits in the game. Steven Jeffries ripped a double into the gap to drive home Breen and send DiPasquale, who had reached base on an error, to third base. Brent Pellen worked a walk off of Viakley to load the bases.

DiPasquale scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Kellen Welch. Then Mario Lombardi walked to load the bases again. Jeffries and Pellen scored when the Red Riders were unable to make a play at second base on Ethan Sole's ground ball. After Russell Schwertfeger walked, Hildreth rapped a double to the fence that cleared the bases.

The Bruins scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning with two hits, another Jeffries double and a single by Welch.

Brooke blasted out six hits in the fifth inning to score seven runs and force the mercy rule victory.

Hildreth and Breen led the Bruin attack with three hits apiece. Schwertfeger, Jeffries and Welch each had two hits. Hildreth had four runs batted in and Welch had three.

Brooke 18, Weir 5

Brooke 207 27 - 18 13 1

Weir 050 00 - 5 4 8

BROOKE (9-9): Hildreth (WP, 3K, 3BB) and Breen; Hildreth 2S, 2B, 4RBI; Breen 3S, 3R; Schwertfeger 2S, 2R, 2RBI; DiPasquale S, 2R; Jeffries 2D, 3R, RBI, Welch 2S, R, RBI.

WEIR (4-11): Viakley (LP, 3K, 2BB), Knuutlia (3), Curtis (4), Cessna (5) and Curtis, Knuutila (4); Duke S, R, 2RBI, Mendenhall 2B, R, Cessna S, R, RBI, Mills S, R, RBI.

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