Gold Hawks Polish Off Toledo Title
Written by Steve DeDoes for Toledo Hawks Baseball   
Sunday, 31 July 2011 11:39

3-0 Week in Local League Clinches First Place

Playing games on three consecutive nights, the Toledo Hawks "Gold" Team raised its unblemished Toledo Amateur Baseball League record to ten wins, no losses - and in doing so, clinched first place in the league for the 2011 season.  The championship cements the team's bid to the 2011 NABF World Series.  On Tuesday night, July 26, the Gold Hawks trounced the Black Swamp by a 11-0 score; they followed the next night with a 8-0 blanking of Bedford.  Then, in Thursday night's contest, the second "Hawk-on-Hawk" game of 2011 went to the Golden Boys, as Hawks "Gold" beat Hawks "Black" by a 3-2 margin.

In the Tuesday night game, pitchers Ricky Volante (Lake Erie/Tappahannock, VA) and Tim Corbey (Dayton/Toledo) kept the Swamp in deep water by holding them to only one hit - a fifth-inning double leading off the fifth inning off Corbey.  The offense was keyed by Brett Howard (Siena Heights/Toledo), who not only singled home the game's first run but followed up by blasting a three-run homer deep to left in the third inning.  Howard's heroics were bolstered by the entire lineup, including RBI hits from R.J. Rios (Adrian/Toledo) and Eric Yunker (Ohio Northern/Holland) - but some of the happiest hitting highlights came from Hawk pitchers who got a chance to swing the bat in this game.  Jimmy Shaw (Lake Erie/Holland) belted a double in the fifth, and he scored on a single from Zak Esposito (Owens CC/Sandusky).  Fellow moundsman Brian Koehl (Heidelberg/Sylvania) added an RBI on a groundout in the sixth as the Hawks romped to their 11-0 victory.

Wednesday night, the Hawks scored six runs in the first two innings, with most of the lineup sharing in the 8-0 spotlight.  No Hawk player had two hits - but the six the Hawks did have, along with five walks, were enough to ignite the offense.  Two-base hits were recorded by Drew Kuns (Bowling Green/Oregon), Blake Schmenk (Owens CC/Perrysburg), and Yunker; Schmenk's came with the bases loaded in the second and plated three runs.  Other solid hits in the game came from Ryan Williams (Tiffin/Maumee), Mattie DeDoes (Oberlin/Ann Arbor, MI) and Mike Lollo (Siena Heights/Allen Park, MI).  Koehl pitched five innings in the victory, and Lucas Willitzer (Adrian/Defiance) covered the final two shutout frames as the pair of righties recorded 14 total strikeouts against the blatantly bad Bedford bats - Koehl notching nine K's and Willitzer five.

The Thursday night game at Bowman Park pitted a pair of southpaws - Gold Hawk pitcher Corey Alexander (Siena Heights/Toledo) against Black Hawk lefty Corey Cannon (Western Michigan/Blissfield, MI).  The Gold struck first in the top of the opening inning when Rios' ground ball hugged the first-base line for a two-run double, scoring Kunz (walk) and Howard (error), who both reached base after two were out.  Those were the only runs Cannon allowed in his six innings of work, as he watched Alexander blank the Black through five.  Cannon fanned 11 Gold at the plate, while walking six and allowing only two hits to Rios (he added a fifth-inning single).  Alexander claimed seven "K pelts" of his own, and only allowed three hits and one walk.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Black Hawks finally got on the board against righthanded reliever Brett Kuebler (Siena Heights/Toledo) when Matt Vannett (BGSU/Bowling Green) ushered one of Kuebler's offerings over the leftfield wall with two out in the inning.  The Gold got that run back in the top of the seventh against Black Hawk reliever Ryan Hotmer (Owens CC/Walbridge) beginning when Lollo led off the inning with a bunt; after Hotmer's throw to first ended up down the line in right field, Lollo lit to third base and then scored on a single from Colin Meinzer (Wooster/Toledo); the run proved to be important when the Black Hawks added another run in the seventh.  Tad Margolies (Bluffton/Toledo) singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch to tighten the score to 3-2; Kuebler, however got the final out of the game and helped to seal the Gold Hawks' position atop the Toledo League standings.

The three wins took the overall record for the Toledo Hawks "Gold" to 32-8.
 
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