Check out the June 4 issue of The Akron Hometowner for more sport stories
By Steve Peterson
The Akron-Westfield boys’ baseball team served notice on future opponents this season in their season opener.
These Westerners can run circles around you as Unity Christian found out in a 4-1 A-W win to start the season May 27 there.
On a warm evening for the opener the Westerners took a 1-0 lead and never looked back. They moved up the bases on stolen bases, errors and a perfectly executed squeeze play for a 1-0 record to start to the season.
“Our best chance to win is to run and we’ll run. We may get thrown out but we’ll run. This group is a lot of fun. It may be a whole different nine the next night. They’re deep and they play hard,” said A-W Head Coach Gordy Johnson.
Jacob Neubrand, the team’s elder statesman as a junior, singled in the third inning, moved up to third base on UC errors and scored on a Brenden Hansen RBI single.
A-W improved its lead to 2-0 in the second inning when sophomore Jess McMahon brought home freshman Cal Eskra with a perfect bunt.
“The squeeze bunt is the most exciting play in baseball,” said Johnson.
A-W made it 3-0 in the fifth when freshman Montana Jackson and Eskra got on base on a hit-by-pitch and a single, and both scored on a sacrifice fly by Neubrand.
The Knights made it a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning but with a runner on base, Austin Allard got a comebacker ground out to end the threat.
Dylan Irizarry singled, stole two bases and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Allard in the sixth to up the lead back to three runs, 4-1.
Pitcher Austin Allard then finished the Knights off in the final two innings.
Sophomore Spencer Wardrip got the opening night start and did well as did Austin Allard, who got the win in four-plus innings.
“Both the pitchers did a great job,” said Johnson.
Austin Allard was 2-for-4 hitting with two doubles.
Caleb Colt was 1-for-4 with two stolen bases.
Austin Allard had one RBI and one stolen base.
Montana Jackson scored one run and had one stolen base.
Cal Eskra was 1-for-3 with one run scored and four stolen bases.
Jacob Neubrand was 1-for-2 with one run scored and one stolen base.
Jess McMahon was 1-for-2 with one RBI.
Brenden Hansen was 1-for-3 with one RBI.
A-W had eight hits, two doubles, and 11 stolen bases.
Spenser Wardrip was the starting pitcher and worked three-and-two-thirds innings with two hits allowed, three walks and struck out five and got the win.
Austin Allard worked three-and-one-third innings allowing one hit, one walk and striking out three.