Privitera leads Locos to split with Lake Erie


By Tom Usher - sports@limanews.com



LIMA – It had been a long day of watching it rain, and then working on the muddy field.

So the Locos’ John Privitera (Missouri State) wanted to give his team something good to sleep on after a marathon day at the ballpark.

Privitera had a walk-off, RBI single in the home seventh inning to lift the Locos to a 3-2, Game 2 victory and doubleheader split with Lake Erie Wednesday at Simmons Field.

Lake Erie won the first game 3-2 in eight innings.

The Lima Locos battled through two days of rain, including Tuesday’s postponement.

But they were finally able to get in some late-night baseball at Simmons Field.

Both games of the doubleheader were seven innings.

“What else would we be doing?” Privitera said with a laugh. “We’re in Lima, Ohio, to play baseball. The rain cleared up, so we might as well play.’’

The second game started at 10:46 p.m. and ended at 12:42 a.m. Thursday.

“I thought the guys did pretty good,” Locos coach Jared Gaynor said. “It’s 12:45 right now, and the guys were still chirping and energized, so I don’t think it bothered them what time it was.’’

In the home seventh inning of the second game, with the game tied at 2, the Locos’ Jarrett Smetana hit a two-out double into the left-field corner.

Justin Wiley then ran for Smetana.

Wiley went to third on a wild pitch.

Privitera then lined a shot down the first-base line.

The Lake Erie first baseman knocked the ball down, but wasn’t able to make a play on the speedy Privitera.

Home came Wiley and the Locos had a victory in the moonlight.

“Once we had a guy get on third, I thought this is it,” Privitera said. “I had to get this done. I wanted to put the ball in play with two strikes. He threw me a breaker and left it in the middle, down and I put a bat on it. It worked out.’’

The Locos are 6-4. Lake Erie is 3-7.

Privitera went 3 for 4 with three stolen bases for the second game.

Added Gaynor, “(Privitera) was firing on all cylinders today, and it was great to see him come through at the end.’’

Cade Beloso (LSU) was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI in the second game.

The first game of the doubleheader started at 7:46 p.m. because of a rain delay of one hour and 16 minutes.

The Locos scored a run in the first inning of Game 2.

Leadoff hitter Privitera singled, stole second and third, then came home on and RBI single to left by Beloso.

It was more of the same for the Locos in the sixth.

Privitera singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Beloso’s RBI double gave the Locos a 2-0 lead in the sixth.

Privitera’s steal of second came after he reached on a single, then watched the Lake Erie lefty pitcher Brody Heil walk to the back of the mound with his head down.

With no one covering second base, Privitera took off and swiped second before a pitch was thrown.

“It was sort of a reaction,” Privitera said. “I saw the middle infield was kind of being lazy and I took off. I saw the pitcher wandering around with his head down and so I thought, ‘I think I can take it.’ I just went and it worked out.’’

Added Gaynor, “That was heads-up baserunning and it really paid off for us.’’

Lake Erie tied the game at 2 in the top of the seventh.

Casey O’Laughlin’s two-run single to center tied the game at 2.

Rhett Fetner (Auburn) hit two batters and walked one in the first inning. But he pulled it back together in the second and went six innings for the Locos in the second game.

Fetner gave up two runs, both earned, on two hits. He struck out five and walked three.

Fetner threw 87 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Fetner exited in favor of Nate Witherspoon, who notched the win with one shutout inning.

Lake Erie pulled out the win in Game 1 with an RBI single to left by pinch-hitter Caleb Balgaard in the eighth.

Jordan Nwogu led off the eighth with a single, took second on a wild pitch, then went to third on a throwing error by the Locos catcher.

Nwogu came home from third on Balgaard’s game-winning hit.

Lefty Tanner Hall (Mercer) started Game 1 for the Locos. Right-hander Dillon McInerney (Wayne State) started for Lake Erie.

Both pitchers dominated with their fastball and breaking ball over the first half of the game.

McInerney tossed four shutout innings and gave up three hits. He struck out three and walked one. McInerney threw 70 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Hall went five innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one. Hall threw 82 pitches, 54 for strikes.

“I like watching Tanner pitch,” Gaynor said. “He works quickly and he has really good stuff. And he’ll pitch in the 87-to-90 (mph) range.’’

Lake Erie scored an unearned run in the first to take a 1-0 lead.

Lake Erie’s Griffin Mazur hit a solo home run over the left-field fence to leadoff the fifth. That gave the Monarchs a 2-0 lead.

The Locos charged back with two runs in the home seventh to tie the game at 2.

Mark Castelblanco started the seventh with a solo home run to right.

With runners at first and third, Tyler Anshaw put down a squeeze bunt to score pinch-runner Jess Davis to tie the game at 2.

Davis ran for Beloso, who had hit a pinch-hit double.

“We beat ourselves in the first game,” Gaynor said. … That was on us and I was proud of the way they responded in the second game. It could have been very easy late at night to not bring the energy in the second game, but they were ready to go from the first pitch.’’

Locos notes: The Locos travel to Irish Hills (Mich.) Thursday and Friday. The Locos are back home for a 7 p.m. game Saturday against Galion at Simmons Field.

Entering Wednesday, the Locos had played four straight errorless games.

Pitchers Brad Croy (Bowling Green/Ottawa-Glandorf), Austin Swift (Indiana Wesleyan/Kalida), Jake Meyer (Georgia Highlands/Spencerville) and Jacob Henley (Georgia Highlands) have all been sidelined the last week with arm issues. Croy had an MRI on his right shoulder and elbow on Wednesday in Cincinnati.

As the team’s designated hitter, Croy ranks eighth in the league in hitting at .421. Michael Diffley (Arizona Christian) ranks 11th at .400. … Tyler Simon (Kennesaw State) is tied for fifth in stolen bases (6). … Daniel Seres (Kennesaw State) is tied for 10th in RBI (9)….Right-hander Jordan Marks (South Carolina-Upstate) is third in the league in strikeouts (15) and 10th in ERA (2.46).

The Locos lead the league in hitting at .321. They rank third in runs (78) and second in home runs (9). The Locos rank 11th out of 14 teams in ERA at 6.91.

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By Tom Usher

sports@limanews.com

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.

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