Anderson’s gem, solid defense lifts CCHS over Creek
STEUBENVILLE — This season marks David Kissinger’s first on a baseball diamond at any level.
One easily could have been fooled when watching the junior play against Indian Creek on Wednesday.
In the top of the fifth with a runner on first and nobody out, the Redskins’ Isaiah Vandine smoked a line drive to short. Kissinger made an incredible diving snag to his right, got up and doubled up the napping runner.
Plays like those, along with a solid outing from starting pitcher Ryan Anderson, paved the way for a Crusader 6-1 victory.
“That play by Kissinger was monstrous,” CCHS first-year head coach Aaron Henderson said. “That’s the first game he’s every played at shortstop. These are his first games on the field in general. He didn’t even play Little League. As an athlete, anywhere we put him and anything we ask of him, he just delivers.”
Central (3-3) committed two errors overall, with one costing Anderson a complete-game shutout. However, outside of those, the defense made life difficult for Creek (4-3).
“(Anderson) was sharp early and worked ahead in counts. Defensively, that’s the best we’ve looked all year,” Henderson said. “(Indian Creek) put the ball in play and had some hard hits. We saw that when we played them in a scrimmage. To hold them to one run was big.”
Anderson pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits, three walks and struck out four. Alex Solema tossed the final two pitches.
Offensively, all six Central runs came within the first two frames, mostly off Creek starter Kile Lenko, who struggled with command. In just one-plus inning, he allowed five runs on three hits, one walk, hit two batters and struck out none.
“We knew coming in that if Ryan was throwing, we’d be in for a battle. He’s a good pitcher and did a good job,” Redskin head coach Mike Cottis said. “He was getting a lot of pop-ups early on. When we were making solid contact, their defense made the plays.
“We dug ourselves a hole early, getting behind the count on our side. We did some things wrong early that gave them extra bases.”
Solema drew a free pass to open the bottom of the first. Following Anderson’s one-out single and Andrew Dorsey getting plunked, Kody Carver drove a run home on a ground out. Anderson scored shortly after on a wild pitch for a 2-0 advantage.
The Crusaders loaded the bases again to begin the second thanks to singles from Kissinger and Brayden Rauch, then Nate Stark getting hit on an 0-2 count.
Lenko’s day was over, and filling in would be Connor Shultz.
Next man up, Solema roped a two-run single for a 4-0 lead. Anderson then tallied a one-out RBI single before Solema scored following a throwing error during a Dorsey base knock.
“We took advantage and got some timely hits. Ryan’s been hot with the bat the last few games. Cody delivered early when we needed it, and that’s something we haven’t done yet this year,” Henderson said. “Basically, we’ve been playing behind in almost every game and have been making a mountain out of a hill.”
After that, Shultz was dominant in five innings on the mound, allowing one unearned run on five hits, no walks and struck out a pair.
“It was kind of a tale of two games. Shultz came in and shut them down the rest of the way,” Cottis said. “He did a really good job. We still have a lot of confidence in Kyle, as well. It just wasn’t his best day.
“Everything went their way, and nothing went ours. That’s baseball.”
The Redskins finally broke through in the hit column off the first pitch to open the fifth thanks to Corey Cottis’ single. Next man up was Vandine, who lined out to Kissinger to end any momentum.
Singles from Shultz and Cam Franke in the top of the sixth led to runners on second and third with two outs. Anderson worked out of that jam with an Aiden Fernandez ground out to Kissinger, though it was bang-bang at first.
David Ferroni singled and Corey Cottis walked to open the seventh. With one out and runners at the corners, Nikolai Gryskevich drove home the team’s lone run on a ground ball that was bobbled. He then reached second on a throwing error.
Following Vitali Amis being plunked and a Shultz single to load the bases with two outs, Henderson brought Solema in from center field to complete a two-pitch save.
NEW COVID RULE
During the fourth inning, the home plate umpire caught Anderson touching his face following a pitch. Because of a new rule this season due to COVID-19, Anderson had to wipe his face off and received a new ball, while the other was wiped down.
Indian Creek: Tentatively hosts Edison on Friday.
CCHS: Tentatively travels to Shadyside today.
Catholic Central 6, Indian Creek 1
Creek 0-0-0 0-0-0 1 — 1 5 1
CCHS 2-4-0 0-0-0 x — 6 8 2
INDIAN CREEK (4-3): Lenko (lp, 1IP, 5R, 3H, 1BB, 0K), Shultz (5IP, 1R (0ER), 5H, 0BB, 2K) and Ferroni. Franke S; Ferroni S; Cottis S; Shultz 2S; Gryskevich RBI.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (3-3): Anderson (wp, 6 2/3IP, 1R, 5H, 3BB, 4K), Solema (sv, 1/3IP, 0R, 0H, 0BB, 0K) and Dorsey. Solema S, 2RBIs; Anderson 2S, RBI; Dorsey S; Barcalow S; D. Kissinger S; Rauch S; Stark S.