Zachary Barber set the tone for the Brunswick JV Baseball team silencing the Mentor Cardinals in the early going as the Blue Devils took the conference opener 10-6 at Mentor High School. The team went to 5-1 overall, and 1-0 in the Greater Cleveland Conference.
Barber was efficient not allowing a run or walk among the first 13 Mentor batters he faced. His teammates offered key support driving in 8 runs in the first two innings to give the Blue Devils an early 8-0 lead, quieting the Cardinal faithful.
From the leadoff spot, Cameron Lusnek singled to start the contest. Jacob Mancini would then work a full count into a walk. As Drew Harvey battled the Mentor starter, Lusnek scored on a wild pitch. Harvey would hit the ball hard up the middle to plate Mancini. Henry Mates hit a single to right with Harvey taking second base. Spencer Poindexter reaches as he is hit by a pitch, and Kyle Callahan walks to score Harvey. With the bases still loaded, catcher Hunter Neel works another full-count walk to bring in the 4th run for Brunswick.
The Blue Devils kept the pressure on early in the 2nd, as Mancini took a 3-2 count and drove a leadoff-single to right center. Harvey again hits the ball to third which is mishandled. Mates walked before DH Zach Anderson hits a sacrifice fly to right. Poindexter and Callahan would next both walk to load the bases. Neel would follow with an RBI single, and Lusnek is hit by a pitch bringing in the fourth run to put Brunswick up 8-0.
The defensive gem of the day occurred in the bottom half of the 2nd. With 2 runners on for the Cardinals and one out, Mentor’s leadoff hitter took a 1-1 count and hit the ball hard to third. Brunswick’s Anthony Wojtala gloved the hard shot, turned and threw the ball to Callahan at second, who wheeled and fired the ball to Mates at first. The 5-4-3 double play ended the looming rally and the inning.
Brunswick would add 2 more runs in the fourth on back-to-back walks by Callahan and Wojtala before Lusnek would drive both runs in on a first-pitch double to center.
James Nelson came on in relief of Barber in the 5th inning. Mentor added to their run total in the 4th and 6th innings but fell short. Mancini would face the final 5 batters on the mound for the Blue Devils.
The Brunswick JV squad continues conference play Tuesday against Mentor adding an independent game against the Hudson Explorers on Friday.