LEETONIA - In a sloppy game played in frigid conditions, the Leetonia Bears did enough to outlast Campbell 10-8 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday at Leetonia High School.
Brandon Dattilio delievered the go-ahead hit for the Bears in the bottom of the fifth when he broke a 6-6 tie with a two-out two-run single back up the middle.
With runners in scoring position, I wasnt trying to do too much up there, Dattilio said. I was just trying to put the ball in play. Fortunately I got a good pitch and was able to find some open space.
After a Trent Ferry RBI single stretched the lead to 9-6, Dattilio strode out to the mound for the sixth to try and protect the lead he had delivered his team a task which proved to be far from easy.
With two men on and one out, Campbell leadoff hitter Brandon Reyes hit a two-run triple to the left-centerfield gap to make the score 9-8. With the tying run 90 feet from home and the heart of the order coming up, Dattilio squirmed his way out of trouble, retirng the next two batters to preserve the lead.
After Leetonia pushed across an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, Dattilio slammed the door in the seventh, retiring the side in order for the win.
LIan Sevenich (3IP, 5K, 1BB, 1H, 0ER), Luke Janci (2IP, 2K, 3BB, 2H, 2ER), Brandon Dattilio wp (2IP, 4K, 1BB, 2H, 2ER) and Luke Janci, Zack Van Giesen.
CBrandon Reyes (4IP, 7K, 3BB, 3H, 1ER), Joel Cruz (2IP, 3K, 2BB, 2H, 1ER) and Joel Cruz, Joe Lebenich.
The sixth inning was pretty ugly, but I was able gather myself and I pitched a lot better in the seventh, Dattilio said.
Due to the weather, neither team had much of a chance to practice outside before Tuesdays game and the effects were clear. Every inning but one featured at least one error, wild pitch or passed ball.
Its tough because this was only our second time being outside all year, Leetonia coach Jim Green said. We obviously cant continue to play like we did tonight though. There were a lot of mistakes that need cleaned up.
Early on, it looked as if the Bears might cruise to the win, as they raced out to a 4-1 after three innings. However, Leetonia starter Ian Sevenichwho had pitched three strong inningswas removed in favor Luke Janci for the fourth.
Ian [Sevenich] was pitching well, but we have league games coming up later in the week and we wanted to save his arm, Green said.
With Sevenich gone, the Red Devils rallied for three runs in the fourth to tie the game. After Leetonia went back on top 6-4 in their half of the inning, Campbell came right back off of Janci in the fifth to re-tie the game before the Bears were finally able to wrest control in the late innings.
We still have a long way to go, but it felt good to at least be outside and playing a game, Green said. It feels good to have our first win.
Dattilio led the way at the plate for the Bears, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs, while Sevenich also went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Reyes went 1 for 3 with two RBIs to lead the Red Devils.
The Bears will be back in action this afteroon when they travel to Cene Field in Struthers to play Lowellville.