Corey Whaley and Drew Lakos are teammates on a summer baseball travel team.
On Wednesday, they were opponents when St. Vincent-St. Mary and Archbishop Hoban met at Lee R. Jackson Field.
Only one was leaving the University of Akron campus with a victory, and that was Whaley as the Fighting Irish won 1-0 on a sunny and warm Senior Day for both teams.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Whaley came to bat against Lakos with runners on second and third. He hit a sacrifice fly to right field and sophomore Anthony Cerreto sprinted home to score in front of a throw and tag.
“When they went out and called time, coach [Ben] Willis came over and told me, ‘If he leaves it up, just give our guys a chance,’ ” Whaley said. “Drew is a good friend of mine. He left it up, and I did just that. I love him, but I am so happy with what happened.”
The Irish (8-8) beat the Knights (11-9) for the first time in the five-year tenure of coach Anthony Boarman.
“I told them after the game, this is a program changer,” Boarman said. “I don’t know the exact amount of years, but it is over 10 years since we beat Hoban. This is huge for us. They have always dominated us over the past decade.
“This is just a big win for multiple reasons. We are a young team and we are learning the game mentally and physically. We are making strides and I felt like we grew up a lot today. We have been in a lot of tight ballgames, one-run games where we have fallen apart at some point. We didn’t do that today. We stayed consistent. Every guy, whether defensively or offensively, stayed within themselves.”
Whaley, a junior, earned the win in relief by working two innings after senior Andy Farrell pitched five innings.
“I wanted to come in and throw strikes,” said Whaley, who is 2-3. “I knew our guys would make the plays if I kept the ball on the ground.”
Lakos, a senior, was solid for 6⅔ innings and is 3-1.
“Anytime you have a one-run game, and certainly if it ends this late, you have got to tip your hat to both teams’ pitchers and defenses,” Hoban coach Jim Diestel said. “That is the first time we have played seven full innings of very good defense. I can take that as a huge positive. Our offense is what has carried us through to have the record we have had so far. We are on a little four-game offensive skid. At some point, somebody is going to pay for that. I know a lot of balls found their fielders today and their fielders made all of the plays. You have got to tip your hat to St. Vincent-St. Mary for playing an excellent game.”
Cerreto walked to start the seventh and senior Bailey Spinner followed with a bunt single. Cerreto and Spinner advanced on a wild pitch.
“As soon as he lifted the ball into the air, I immediately went back to third to tag up,” Cerreto said. “I was just waiting for coach to tell me to go.”
Seniors Austin Farber, Aaron Cain and Adam Gray singled for Hoban. St. V-M also got one hit apiece from senior Patric Jones, junior Zac George and sophomores Jason Large, Ryan Donahue and Kevin Oyakawa.
“This is the turning point for us,” Farrell said. “We have battled hard all year and we have had some tough times. Now, we are turning it around and we are coming for it for playoff time [in Division II].”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.