Joseph's Perfect Game Helps Express Capture 14th Straight 20 Win Season

Blake Schmenk takes the lead off first. His 3-for-3 performance, including a two-run homer in the third inning, in the first game helped the Express shutout Lorain County 10-0. Photo by Seth Foley
Blake Schmenk takes the lead off first. His 3-for-3 performance, including a two-run homer in the third inning, in the first game helped the Express shutout Lorain County 10-0. Photo by Seth Foley

By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information

Sylvania, OH---The Express (21-11, 5-5 OCCAC) dominated Lorain County on Sunday while crossing the 20 win threshold for the season. It is the 14th straight season the Express have eclipsed the 20-win mark.

The games on Sunday were played at Southview High School due to wet field conditions at Owens.

Game 1: Owens 10 Lorain County 0

Pitching on his former home field, Andy Joseph (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) threw a five inning perfect game with nine strikeouts to lead his new team to a 10-0 win in the first game.

Aside from his strikeouts, Joseph allowed three fly outs and three ground outs while only needing 62 pitches.

Blake Schmenk (Perrysburg/Perrysburg, Ohio) led the offensive attack for Owens with a 3-for-3, two run and three RBI performance. He had a two-run home run in the third inning.

Owens jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Nate Miceli (Berea/Berea, Ohio) executed a safety squeeze to score Daniel Heatherly (Trenton/Trenton, Mich.).

In the third, the Express scored nine runs to break the game open. Aside from Schmenk's home run, other highlights included an RBI single by Schmenk, an RBI groundout by Ryan Hotmer (Lake/Millbury, Ohio), an RBI single by Heatherly, and an RBI double by Joe Sickler (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio).

Other offensive leaders aside from Schmenk included: Jesse Solomon (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio), 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base, and Heatherly, 2-for-2 with two runs, RBI and a stolen base.

Paul Kubuski took the loss for Lorain County.

Game 2: Owens 11 Lorain County 1

Lorain County finally got some runners on base - the first two of the game in fact - but Express starter, Hotmer, settled down while the Express won 11-1 to complete the season sweep of Lorain County.

Sickler led off the home half of the first with a triple and scored on a groundout by Schmenk to put Owens up 1-0.

In the fourth, Lorain County tied the game with a two-out rally that included a hit batter and two singles.

However, the Express answered right back with six runs on five hits in the home half. After a leadoff groundout by Heatherly, James Moore (Southfield Lathrup/Farmington Hills, Mich.) and Austin Gunn (Delta/Delta, Ohio) hit back-to-back singles before Shane Powell (Gibralter Carlson/Brownstown, Mich.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Andrew Poland (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) then hit an RBI single up the middle before Danny Schira (Switzerland County/Vevay, Ind.) popped out on a bunt. Sickler kept the rally going, though, with a single up the middle before Schmenk walked. A two-run double to left center by Garrett Busch (Start/Toledo, Ohio) capped the scoring in the inning. Three other runs scored on three wild pitches and a passed ball in the inning.

After Hotmer scattered a single to Lorain County's hitters in a scoreless top of the fifth, Owens had five of six batters reach in the fifth to walk off with a win.

In the inning, Moore and Gunn again led off with back-to-back singles. Moore reached third on Gunn's single. Then, Gunn stole second, and the catcher's throw sailed into centerfield allowing Moore to score. Then, Gunn scored on a wild pitch.

After Powell flew out, Poland walked and Schira singled. Sickler then hit a deep double to center field to score Poland. On the play, Poland scored but Schira was held at third. Sickler was thrown out after rounding second too far for the second out. However, on the first pitch to Schmenk, who was next up, the pitch was wild and Schira scored the final run.

Sickler led the offensive attack with a 3-for-4, two run and one RBI performance. Gunn went 2-for-2 with two runs, a stolen base and an RBI, and Moore was 2-for-3 with two runs.

Hotmer finished the game allowing six hits and no walks with six strikeouts in his five innings to get the win. Of those six hits, only one was extra bases.

Andrew Pearce took the loss for Lorain County.