Osceola Controls Lakewood Late For 9-0 Win
It was a true pitchers duel for five innings, with each team struggling to get a hit and put runners on base. Osceola’s Tyler Malinowski handled the best Lakewood sent to the plate, while the Spartan’s Aidan O’Dowd held the Warriors to just two hits.
Lighting struck in the sixth inning when Osceola scored eight runs, sending 11 batters to the plate in the process. The Warriors went home victorious, shutting out the Spartans in a commanding 9-0 win.
Defense played an important roll in the Warriors win, starting with Malinowski, who pitched a gem, going 5.2, allowing only one hit. Behind the pitcher everything was clicking on all cylinders as well. Right fielder Issac Al made a diving catch for the first out of the second inning and catcher AJ Rivera picked off a runner with a large lead at second base in the fifth.
Having a strong defensive backing is something Malinowski did’t take for granted.
“It really helps me hit my spots and settle down when I have a strong defense,” says Malinowski, “it was early in the second when Al made that diving catch which was great.”
Offensively, the bats were quite for most the night. O’Dowd managed to hold the Warriors to just two hits and one run through five. All that changed in the sixth as batter after batter came to the plate for Osceola.
Malinowski actually got things going in the inning with a one out double. Al and third baseman Jeremy Adams then had back to back singles to load the bases. It was Rivera who broke the game open with a RBI double to the left-center gap. After that the Warriors began to pile on the hits and the runs, never looking back.
Rivera was excited to help out in the win and spoke to hitting adjustments as being key to cracking a tough Lakewood Pitcher.
“We changed our approach,” said Rivera. “Instead of trying to crush the ball we adjusted and slowed down and started just getting the bat on the ball.”
Lakewood struggled offensively all night. Only six batters made it on base on just three hits and three walks. During the game not a single Spartan base runner made it past second. Mental mistakes on offense and on defense are what manger Jayce Ganchou says crippled them.
“We mentally fell apart and we cant handle adversity and you can quote me on that,” Ganchou said.
Wednesday’s win was the fourth in a row for the #15 Warriors. Heading into the playoffs with that kind of momentum is something that manager Steven Futch is proud off. He also knows that they beat a good pitcher in O’Dowd.
“The kid did a good job of keeping us off balance but we finally caught up to him,” said Futch. “We were also pretty blessed defensively, that’s our strength heading into the playoffs.”