Things haven’t gone North’s way this season but the Rangers created some positive momentum with a 4-3 win over visiting Mayfield on Friday.
The Rangers scored three first-inning runs and held on to claim their first win of the spring.
“It was a good team win,” said North coach Kyle Stahlberg. “I’m glad to have that first one out of the way. More than anything, the guys got that mental block out of the way and I think getting that win and that positivity and feeling what it’s like to get that ‘W’ is going to go a long way.”
Kenny Streb’s one-out single got things going in the bottom of the first.
Lou Severino and Cam Shreves then hit back-to-back singles off Mayfield standout Dominic DiPippo. Dylan Froelich then hit an RBI double and Ben Goerndt singled home Shreves to make it 3-0.
Mayfield got one back in the third on a double by Donte Regalbuto and an error but the Rangers responded with one of their own to maintain a three-run lead.
Brad Burrows hit a one-out single and later scored on Shreves’ sacrifice fly.
Mayfield added one in the fourth and one in the sixth and had the tying run on base in the seventh, but Shreves buckled down and retired the next three Wildcats to preserve his complete game victory.
“He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes and he was locating, which was more important than anything,” Stahlberg said. “He was hitting all of his spots and when he can throw all of his pitches for strikes and hit spots he’s tough to hit.”
Shreves allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out six.
“I wanted to focus on throwing first-pitch strikes,” Shreves said. “If I didn’t do that they would be able to make some good contact. I was able to move my fastball in the beginning of the game, painting spots inside, outside. Then as the game went on, in the back of my mind I knew they could time my fastball up so I had to work my curveball and even my changeup, which allowed me to have consistent pitching down the stretch. Also, knowing that my teammates and my coaches believe in me to go the distance in a game is a huge confidence booster.”
North committed six errors in the game but the Rangers didn’t hang their heads.
“We played some good defense,” Stahlberg said. “When we did make mistakes, they did not carry over into the next play. They just focused on the next play at hand. The biggest thing is when there were things not going our way, because there were a few times, they just stayed in the game and stayed up and tried to keep the positive momentum moving. That’s why we won.”
Severino finished 2-for-3 for the Rangers, who finished with eight hits.
“We were stringing some hits together,” Stahlberg said. “Lou Severino has really been hitting the ball well. He hit it nicely and Kenny is starting to string it together as well. Cam Shreves has put together some phenomenal at-bats and making the pitcher work. Facing DiPippo like that, the whole order made him work and got his pitch count up. It’s good to see that against a good pitcher like that and making a guy like that work and making it harder on him. It showed as the game went on. We kept chipping away.”
North improved to 1-9 overall and 1-3 in the Western Reserve Conference.
The Rangers travel to Madison on Monday.
“This game was an extremely important win,” Shreves said. “After losing two really close games to Brush and then a much larger loss to Mayfield, we knew we had to come out today and dig deep and play ‘Ranger Baseball’ like we know how. This win was a huge boost to morale and showed our cohesiveness as a team and made us a stronger and a closer-knit group after today. Everyone played a solid defense and offense today. After winning against a solid Mayfield team, this made us realize we are strong contenders against other teams.”