By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Adrian, MI---The Express made a valiant comeback attempt in game one, but fell just short before getting swept in a home conference doubleheader against Sinclair Community College, 7-6 and 10-0.
The games were played at Adrian College's Nicolay Field because the field at Owens was not playable due to rain.
Game 1: Sinclair 7 Owens 6
The Express mounted a three-run seventh inning rally and had the bases loaded with one out but fell 7-6. Initially, Owens trailed by six runs after three and a half innings, but a solo home run by Ryan Hotmer (Lake/Millbury, Ohio) in the bottom of the fourth started an Express comeback effort.
Following Hotmer's shot, Blake Schmenk (Perrysburg/Perrysburg, Ohio) doubled to right field. Daniel Heatherly (Trenton/Trenton, Mich.) then doubled to left field cutting the lead to 6-2. After a groundout, Austin Gunn (Delta/Delta, Ohio) singled to right field to make the score 6-3 after four innings.
Sinclair added a run in the top of the sixth off Express reliever Kelley Wagner (Brownstown/Brownstown, Ind.) to make it 7-3, and that run would turn out to be very important.
In the bottom of the seventh, Gunn grounded out to third base to begin the inning before his teammates began a rally. Jesse Solomon (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio) singled to right field before Joe Sickler (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio) singled to right center - putting runners on first and third. A wild pitch then scored Solomon and advanced Sickler to second while the lead was cut to three.
Matt Hayes (North/Pickerington, Ohio) then doubled down the left field line to score Sickler and cut the lead to two. After a walk to Hotmer, Garrett Busch (Start/Toledo, Ohio) singled up the middle off the second baseman's glove to cut the lead to one.
On the throw, Busch moved to second as Danny Schira (Switzerland County/ Vevay, Ind.), who pinch ran for Hotmer, advanced to third.
Schmenk then walked to load the bases with one out. However, the rally would end there as Heatherly hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that Sinclair's second baseman grabbed and flipped to the shortstop, who then threw to first for the 4-6-3 game ending double play.
Zak Esposito (Sandusky/Sandusky, Ohio) started for the Express and suffered his first loss of the year (3-1). He allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out four over five innings. Kerns got the win for Sinclair.
Hayes (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI), Busch (2-for-4, RBI) and Gunn (2-for-3, RBI) led the Express offensively. Wagner pitched the final two innings for Owens.
Game 2: Sinclair 10 Owens 0
The Express couldn't recover from the first game's demoralizing defeat as they were one-hit in a 10-0 defeat at the hands of Sinclair in the second game.
Sinclair jumped on Owens early with six runs in the second inning. They chased starter Jordan Basinger (Kalida/Kalida, Ohio) after five hits, a hit batter, two walks and two wild pitches in the second inning. Andy Joseph (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) relieved him.
After the Tartan Pride got another run in the third, Nate Miceli (Berea/Berea, Ohio) walked for the Express in the bottom half to become their first baserunner.
Tyler Brown-Lewis (Shaker Heights/Shaker Heights, Ohio) took the mound for the Express in the fifth. Three walks, a strikeout and a hit batter later, the Express trailed 8-0. Heatherly relieved him with one out and struck the next two batters out to end the inning.
After Sinclair added two runs in the fifth off Heatherly, Schmenk broke up a no-hit bid for Sinclair by doubling off the right center field wall to lead off the bottom of the inning.
However, a strike out, a ground out and a strikeout ended the game. Basinger (3-2) took the loss.
Schmenk finished the game 1-for-2, while he also got the final out in the top of the seventh on the mound.
The Express are now scheduled to travel to Tiffin, Ohio to take on Heidelberg JV today. The team now sits at 17-9 overall and 3-5 in the OCCAC.