Goin' Out "Strong" Print E-mail
Written by Steve DeDoes for Toledo Hawks Baseball   
Monday, 25 July 2011 09:59

Gold Hawks Take Two In Final Road Trip

After Saturday rains cancelled two games across Ohio in Ravenna, the Toledo Gold Hawks made the trip Sunday to Strongsville to play a doubleheader against Tri-State rival Ohio Northern.  Though the bats started slowly, the pitching held up and the rain held off - and the Hawks held up their side of the bargain for those fans that made the trip.  The Hawks won the opening contest 3-1, and then held off the Northerners late in the second game to prevail by a 7-5 margin.

Gold Hawk hitters managed only four hits in the first game - but one of them was a two-out, bases-loaded blast by Brett Howard (Siena Heights/Toledo) in the third inning.  Corey Lehman (Siena Heights/Toledo) walked after the first two batters in the inning had been retired, and then Ryan Williams (Tiffin/Maumee) executed a nice hit-and-run single through the hole left by the Northern second baseman, who had moved to cover the bag as Lehman broke for second.  After Drew Kuns (Bowling Green/Oregon) followed with another walk to fill the sacks, Howard's shot carried deep into center and off the glove of the extended fielder for a 3-run double.

The only other hits in the game against Northern's Tyler Bowditch (Mercyhurst) were a fourth-inning single by Mattie DeDoes (Oberlin/Ann Arbor, MI), and a base hit in the fifth by Lehman.  However, it was enough for Hawk hurlers Corey Alexander and Brett Kuebler, Toledo natives who also team up at Siena Heights.  Alexander went four innings, allowing the single score in the fourth, three hits overall, and a walk while striking out three; Kuebler followed with three innings of work, allowing three hits and a walk while recording a single "K".

Fellow Siena Heights teammate Mike Lollo brought his best glove to Ohio from his home in Allen Park, Michigan - and he put it to good use in both games.  In the first game, Lollo banged into the fence to steal an extra-base hit away from the first hitter in the third inning; then, in the fifth inning of the second game, he gunned down a runner at the plate to end that frame and maintain a Gold Hawk lead.

That out at the plate looked trivial as the Hawks went into the bottom of the seventh with a 7-2 lead.  Kuns had driven in four runs on the game:  one with an RBI groundout in the third; two key runs with a two-out single in the fifth to give the Hawks their first lead; and then driving in the final Hawk score with a hit in the seventh.  In addition to Kuns' credentials, Williams rapped two hits and an RBI; Lehman added two singles; Eric Croak (Toledo/Toledo) checked in with two singles, both on bunts; and Lollo's bad-hop double in the sixth scored R.J. Rios (Adrian/Toledo) after the latter had walked and stolen second.

The Ohio Northern hosts did not end the day quietly, however.  Leading off the home half of the seventh with two walks and a single, they managed three runs against Jimmie Shaw (Lake Erie/Holland), the last of three Hawk pitchers in this game.  With the tying run at the plate, Shaw retired the final hitter on a fly to center.  Prior to Shaw throwing the seventh, Zak Esposito (Owens CC/Sandusky) and Kirk Stambaugh (Wayne State/Sylvania) did the pitching honors for the Hawks, each laboring in the heat for three innings of work.  "Zito" allowed two hits and two runs in the second and also issued a walk in each one of his innings; Stambaugh allowed two hits and hit two batsmen, but also recorded four strikeouts.

With the wins, Coach Ed Mouch and the Gold Hawks returned to their homes with a Tri-State league record of 23-8, and a composite mark of 29-8.