TALLMADGE: A rough first inning in the field defensively for Tallmadge became a small side note once the Blue Devils got bats in their hands.
Host Tallmadge scored quickly and often Tuesday and defeated Copley 21-7 on Dave Young Field in a Suburban League baseball game shortened to five innings because of the run rule.
Copley (1-4, 0-3) took advantage of four Tallmadge errors in the first inning to lead 3-0. Tallmadge (2-2, 2-1) responded by scoring seven runs in the first inning, five runs in the second inning and seven runs in the third inning to win its home opener.
“I think it was important for us to bounce back coming off last Thursday [a 5-3 loss at Revere],” Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said. “We had to sit and wait. We swung it OK, but we lost. It was nice for us to get rolling early to get some confidence going.”
The Blue Devils feature four senior captains; twins Cordt Skraba and Zach Skraba, and Kody Edwards and Scott Noel. All four contributed to the win, along with several others.
Blue Devils junior Chris Gray hit four singles, scored two runs and had one RBI from the leadoff spot, helping erase the early deficit.
“This just shows that we never think we are down,” Gray said. “It doesn’t matter if we are behind by five runs in the seventh inning because we know we have the talent to come back. We have solid hitters from one to nine, all the way through the lineup.”
Cordt Skraba and Zach Skraba both had two hits. Seniors Zach Cleary and Nick Robinson also had two hits along with sophomores John Rensel and Matt Noel.
The Blue Devils finished with 20 hits and also benefited from six Indians errors.
“They opened up some innings with obviously not making some plays, but we hit a number of balls hard all day long,” Linn said. “Even the outs were hard-hit balls. We got some runs up on the board and Scott [Noel] does what he does and throws strikes.”
Noel, a 6-foot-2 left-hander, pitched three innings for the victory and struck out four. He also smacked a solo home run, scored three runs and had two RBI.
“I commanded the zone and I have faith in everyone behind me to back me up,” Scott Noel said. “We gave up a crooked number early, but we are fighters and we came back. I knew we were going to put up runs, so there was nothing to worry about. I knew I had to pound the zone and throw strikes.”
Zach Skraba, Noel and Rensel each scored three runs and had two RBI. Cordt Skraba scored twice and batted in two. Cleary batted in two.
Copley added a run in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth. Indians senior Jordan Cobb hit three singles, scored two runs and batted in two runs. Junior Conner Pentella scored twice for Copley.
Tallmadge returns seven letter winners from last season’s team that won its second consecutive Division II district title.
This Blue Devils team hopes to join the 2002 version that won a Division II state title.
“All of us put expectations really high,” Scott Noel said. “We all have that goal of winning the state championship, but we have to take it one game at a time.”
Linn said sophomore shortstop Connor McVey is also making an impact this season with junior pitchers Tristan Clark and Jason Beaumont.
Copley hosts Tallmadge at 4:30 today.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com. 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.