By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Kirtland, OH---Andrew Joseph threw a two-hitter in a 10-0 game one win, but the Express was hurt by sloppy defense in the second game as they fell 10-6 to Lakeland in game two yesterday. The Express will now enter sub-regional play.
Game 1: Owens 10 Lakeland 0
Joseph tossed a two-hitter over six innings, while the Express offense scored eight runs over the final three innings to secure a 10-0 win.
The Express got on the board first when Trevor Ozenbaugh hit a two-run homer in the second inning.
Joseph didn't give up a baserunner until a one out single in the fourth, but he stranded that runner at second. Then, in the fifth, his team scored three more times.
The Lakers had one of their two threats in the sixth when a single and an error put two runners on with nobody out. Joseph, however, got a strikeout and two fly outs to end the threat.
In the seventh, the Express broke the game wide open. Ryan Hotmer had an RBI double, Logan Shullick had an RBI single, Horvath and Nate Manis had bases loaded walks and Elder had an RBI single to make it 10-0.
Heatherly then relieved Joseph for the seventh. After hitting the first two batters, he got a 6-4-3 double play and a groundout to end the game.
Joseph's final line included six innings, two hits and three strikeouts as he picked up the win. Matt Palko took the loss for Lakeland.
Elder and Shullick led the Express offense with three hits apiece. Elder was 3-for-5 with a run, an RBI and two stolen bases, while Shullick was 3-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and a double. Nobody else had more than one hit, although Horvath, Heatherly and Ozenbaugh each picked up two RBIs. Ozenbaugh also had two runs.
Game 2: Lakeland 10 Owens 6
Heatherly had another solid offensive game, but Lakeland's Todd Queener picked up four RBIs as the Express defense made some costly errors behind starter Garrett Scott.
A throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt in the first led to a 1-0 lead for Lakeland early. In the second, the Lakers added a two-run homer to make it 3-0.
Following that, only two half innings didn't feature runs.
In the third, the Express got an RBI single from Heatherly and an RBI double from Hotmer to pull within 3-2. Lakeland answered back with a run in their half of the third.
In the fourth, Ozenbaugh walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a grounder and scored on another wild pitch to make it 4-3. The Lakers, however, scored four runs in the bottom half - three on a hit from Queener - to take an 8-3 lead.
Lakeland then went up 9-3 in the fifth before Owens scored three times in the sixth. Elder had an RBI single, Horvath had a bases loaded walk, and Heatherly had a sacrifice fly.
The Lakers would score once more in the bottom half for the final margin. The Express went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Scott allowed five hits, eight runs (two earned) and two walks while striking out two in 3.2 innings. Dane Davis pitched the final 2.1 innings and allowed four hits, two runs and one walk.
Anthony Labondano picked up the win for Lakeland despite allowing four hits, six runs and eight walks in 5.1 innings. Shane Sullivan picked up a save with 1.2 innings of scoreless ball.
Heatherly was 2-for-3 with a run, two RBIs and a triple to lead the Express offense, while Elder, Horvath and Hotmer picked up the other three RBIs. Ozenbaugh added two runs, while James Moore Jr., Elder and Manis each picked up single runs.
As a team, the Express drew nine walks, but struck out eight times. Queener finished 2-for-3 with a run and four RBIs for Lakeland.
The Express finish their regular season 18-33 overall and 8-16 in the OCCAC. They will open NJCAA Sub-Regional play this coming Friday at 12:30 p.m. against Vincennes University (35-18). Should they win, they will play at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Should they lose, they will play at 3 p.m. on Friday. The tournament is double elimination with the finals taking place on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The if necessary game would take place on Sunday at 12 p.m.
All tournament games will take place at Cuyahoga Community College's Western Campus. The winner advances to the NJCAA Region XII Tournament May 11-14.