GALION — The rains came down hard on Tuesday which led to a rain out of the scheduled contest between the hosting Galion Graders and the visiting St. Clair Green Giants. So instead, the two teams met at Heddleson Field in Heise Park for a doubleheader on Wednesday.
In game one of the double-dip, both teams found themselves locked in a true pitcher’s dual before the Green Giants were able to squeeze out a run in the top of the seventh en route to the 1-0 victory over the Graders. St. Clair managed just two hits throughout the contest while Galion posted three in the defeat.
Branden Schlick, who was recently named one of the Graders three all-stars, went the duration on the hill and walked two batters while striking out six in the loss.
The game started out slow and remained true to that fashion throughout as both teams went in order in the first and second innings. In the top of the third, Green Giants catcher Alex Crump reached on a single, the first hit by either team in the game, but would end up as one of St. Clair’s five stranded runners for the contest. In the bottom of the third, newcomer Austin Harper would be hit by a pitch and make it down to first as Galion’s first base runner but would be stranded.
St. Clair got their second and final hit of the game, a single from first baseman Harrison Jones in the top of the fourth. The next batter, David Cole, would reach via walk and the Green Giants had a mini rally brewing. Both runners would move up a base after a Schlick wild pitch but would be stranded at third and second base, respectively. In the home half of the fourth, another all-star, Todd Sekowski, would record Galion’s first hit on a one-out single.
The fifth and sixth innings would see both teams go in order yet again to send the game into the seventh and potentially final inning. Jones would reach the bases again for the visitors, this time via an error by Graders shortstop Christopher Jordan before being erased from the bases on a Cole 6-4 fielder’s choice. With one out, Cole showed his base running savvy and stole both second and third to put the go-ahead run mere feet from home. Crump stepped in and hit a shot to Harper at second, which was botched for the Graders’ second error of the inning, scoring Cole from third in the game’s only run. Jacob Reimold delivered an one-out single for Galion’s third and final hit of the game but would be a part of a game-ending 6-4-3 double play hit into by Juan De La Cruz.
Hathaway, Sekowski and Reimold record the three hits for Galion in game one, all singles. The Graders line-up went 3/22 on the game and struck out six times while leaving two runners on the base path. Defensively, the home team committed two costly errors, both coming in the deciding seventh inning.
St. Clair 5, Galion 3
GALION — After a short break and some necessary field maintenance by Galion General Manager Mike O’Leary, the two teams were set to clash in game number two.
The offenses for both teams were a bit more prevalent in the second game with the teams combining for 11 total hits, but it would be the visitors edging their hosts again, this time by a final tally of 5-3 in eight innings. The Green Giants scored their five runs on seven hits, stranded six and committed two errors in the field to move to 18-11 overall on the season. With the defeat, Galion drops to two games below .500 at 12-14.
The top of the first saw St. Clair strand to base runners, one in scoring position, with nothing to show for their efforts. Galion went in order in the bottom of the frame. In the second, both teams would get on the board, starting with a one-spot for the Green Giants, despite stranding runners at the corners. De La Cruz got the Galion rally going by ripping an one-out double, followed by a walk to Jordan to put runners at first and second. Vince Donato belted a single to load the bases and send up Cole Andrews. Andrews did what he needed to do at the dish, plating De La Cruz on a sacrifice fly to knot the game at one apiece heading into the third.
Galion’s second error came in the top of the third but the visitors would be unable to convert, stranding valuable runners at the corners again. Seamus Kenneally would reach via an one-out walk in the Graders’ half of the inning and would move into scoring position on a wild pitch. Sekowski hit into a 4-3 groundout to move Kenneally over to third with two outs. Reimold stepped in and crushed a no-doubt-about-it home run, his fourth of the season, to score himself and Kenneally and put the hometown squad up; 3-1.
Unfortunately, that would be where the Galion offense hit a standstill, recording just one additional hit, a single by Jordan in the bottom of the fourth. The Graders would see other base runners throughout the remainder of the contest but would be unable to manufacture any significant offense.
It was a similar story for the Green Giants, that was until the top of the seventh. Down to potentially their final three outs, Crump led-off the St. Clair seventh with a double and would be followed by a Kevin Dion single. Crump would score on an error by De La Cruz, Galion’s third of the game, while Dion moved to third. Carter Massey would bring Dion in to score on a sacrifice fly before Gibson Krzeminski struck out to end the threat. The Graders did not have an answer in the bottom of the seventh, going down in order to send the game into extra innings.
Designated Hitter Miguel Cienfuegos led-off the visitor’s half of the inning with a debilitating solo home run before Gavin Homer put himself into scoring position with an one-out double. Homer would proceed to steal third and would score on a wild pitch from Nick Smith to put the Green Giants up by the eventual final score of 5-3. In the bottom of the eighth and down to their final three outs, Galion had an ideal three hitters due up in the likes of Sekowski, Reimold and De La Cruz. Sekowski lined out to left while both Reimold and De La Cruz struck out swinging to end the game.
Henry Martinez got the nod as the starter for the Graders and worked the first five frames, scattering three hits and allowing just one earned run while walking a pair and fanning six. Smith suffered the loss, tossing the final three innings, allowing four hits and four runs (two earned) while striking out a trio of Giants batters.
Offensive statistics for Galion were: Team- 4/27, 3R, 3RBI, 3BB, 8K, 5LOB, SB; Kenneally- R; Reimold- HR, 2RBI, R; De La Cruz- 2B, R; Jordan- 1B; Donato- 1B and Andrews- RBI.
Four games remain for the Graders before the All-Star Break that goes from Monday, July 16 until Wednesday, July 18. Galion will be at home on Thursday and Friday for a pair of games against the visiting Irish Hills Leprechauns before a weekend series on the road at the struggling Xenia Scouts.
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