The yearly battle between Ellet and Firestone to decide the City Series baseball championship heated up again Monday.
And the first of three scheduled meetings went to visiting Ellet in convincing fashion as the Orangemen scored six times in the second inning and cruised to a 12-3 victory at Firestone’s Dave Marshall Field.
The rivals will square off again at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ellet in the second of their home-and-home games.
And the most important one — the City Series title game — will feature the same teams at Canal Park on June 1.
Ellet (18-8, 11-0) clinched at least a tie for the league’s regular-season crown Monday, scoring five more runs in the second after a two-out infield pop was dropped.
“I know they made a miscue, but I think the way we took advantage of it with some solid hits afterward really made a difference,” said Ellet coach John Sarver. “We sort of hit the ball pretty well throughout that game.”
Senior Drew Fite’s run-scoring single drove in Nate Steiner to give Firestone (13-14, 10-1) a short-lived 1-0 lead in the first. Ellet responded with five hits in the second, along with three Falcon errors, to take a 6-1 lead.
Cory Campano doubled with one out and scored on junior Christian Burkhart’s single. Senior Josh Yeager walked with two out and sophomore Andrew Knicely’s popup was misplayed to score a run.
Senior Cody Martin’s two-run double made it 4-1 and he came around on senior Russell Kline’s double. Junior Jacob Isenhart then singled in Kline.
“And it’s not always the same guys that have been hitting the ball consistently,” said Sarver, who has been at Ellet since 1999. “There’s been a number of guys throughout the lineup that have done it.”
Ellet scored two more runs in the third as both Burkhart and Knicely doubled and scored. The Orangemen added a run in the fifth, two more in the sixth and one in the seventh. They had 12 hits.
Five errors also contributed to a long day for three Falcons pitchers, including starter Alex Cole (6-2).
“You can’t expect the kid to get five or six outs every inning and Ellet capitalized and took advantage of our mistakes,” said Firestone’s first-year coach Aaron DeBord. “Whenever we made one mistake, they turned it into two base hits after that. They played a great game today, and we didn’t.”
Ellet also received solid work from two pitchers. Senior left-hander Brandon Hendershot (5-1) pitched the first four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. Senior right-hander Zack Ross went the final three innings, giving up one run on three hits.
Campano, a senior, had two doubles and two walks. A starting catcher the past three years, he has learned to deal with a variety of pitchers.
“They do their stuff differently,” said Campano. “They all get bothered different ways. But I work with them a lot so I know what they like to do and what helps them out.”
With both teams eliminated from postseason play, the focus is all on the head-to-head matchups.
“It’s always nice going into the city championship,” said Campano. “These are our last three games. You want to win all of them going out. That’s all we have for the rest of the year.”
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.