Shelby Teams Endure Tough Day At Bellevue

By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor

BELLEVUE - "This one hurts," said Shelby coach Jon Amicone.

The first-year Whippet varsity baseball coach was referring to Wednesday's 2-1 setback to Northern Ohio League-leading Bellevue on a cold, windswept afternoon at Roberts Peters Park.

SHS was attempting to forge a first-place tie with the Redmen in a game that was a pitcher's duel between Bellevue senior Thomas Pressler and visiting freshman Brennan Armstrong.

The Redmen, who are ranked sixth in this week's Division II state poll, moved to 5-0 in the NOL and 11-2 overall. Shelby drops to 4-2 and 9-4, respectively.

"This is an extremely frustrating loss. It comes down to not making the big plays necessary," said Amicone.

Knowing his club needed a complete effort to knock off BHS, the Whippets came up short. The only error of the game allowed the home team to tie the game in the fourth and the visitors failed to get bunts down on two occasions.

"We made too many mistakes against a great team. If we want to be a championship team, we can't make the mistakes we did today," said Amicone.

Lack of execution at critical stages tarnished the two-hit pitching performance by Armstrong, who yielded singles - in the second to Shane Miller and in the fifth to Jake Strayer. He struck out seven and walked seven.

Pressler gave up five hits while setting down seven via the strikeout route. He didn't walk a batter.

"Brennan was our work horse. Against the sixth-ranked team he throws a complete game two-hitter. It's tough because he gave everything he had and for us to not get the big out for him is difficult," said Amicone.

That out the coach was referencing was in the fourth inning.

Trailing 1-0, the Redmen used three walks to load the bases with two gone. An error on the left side of the infield on Cody Snyder's batted ball enabled Dylan Dewitt to score and tie the game.

BHS manufactured the game-winning run in the sixth without the benefit of the ball leaving the infield.

Bryce Ray led the frame off with a walk and then Clay Fries was safe on a sacrifice bunt. Snyder advanced the runners when he was out on sacrifice. Colton Slaven's groundout to the right side scored Ray.

Shelby seized 1-0 lead during their opening at bat when Armstrong singled, advanced on a passed ball and scored on Dillon Thornsberry's basehit to right field.

The Whippets managed to get a baserunner to third in the top of the third inning, but a groundout stalled the visitors to end the frame.

Despite now trailing Bellevue by two games, Amicone says plenty of baseball remains in the season.

"Now is not the time to push the panic button. We need to turn the corner and play competitive baseball for seven innings," said Amicone. "I was pleased with our kids focus today. Our kids fought tooth and nail and I respect that.

"But we still have to execute plays. We didn't do that and Bellevue did. That's why they beat us," continued Amicone.

The SHS baseball team travels to Norwalk today for a NOL contest. Friday they are at Hillsdale for an independent contest.

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