NORTH RIDGEVILLE — It’s way too early to say just how good North Ridgeville will be this season, but one thing is clear three games into the season: The Rangers are better than they were a year ago.
North Ridgeville won its third game in as many tries Wednesday with a 5-2 win over Fairview in a non-conference game. The win has the Rangers within two games of matching last season’s win total less than a week into the season.
“We’re just playing baseball,” said Anthony Miranda, who had three hits against the Warriors. “It’s nice to get another win and continue our good start to the season. We just have to keep focusing on doing the things we need to do and everything will take care of itself.”
Rangers pitcher Matt Feierabend (1-0) took care of the Warriors with a strong performance as he scattered four hits and two runs over seven innings. He also helped his cause with a pair of runs batted in.
North Ridgeville led 1-0 before Fairview tied things up in the top of the fourth. North Ridgeville responded in the bottom half of the inning.
With one out and Kevin Shaw on third base, the Rangers played small ball. Sophomore Logan Armaro dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line that brought in a sliding Shaw to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Fairview, however, tied it up in the top of the fifth.
The Rangers opened the bottom of the inning with a pair of singles by David Januzzi and Miranda. A two-strike bunt by Bailey Gannon loaded the bases with no one out. Feierabend was the fourth batter and he walked to bring in Januzzi. Two batters later, Miranda came in on a hit by Nathan Colbert and Gannon scored on an Armaro single to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead.
“I felt good when we got our first two batters on in the fifth,” North Ridgeville coach Matt Ponting said. “I felt a lot better when Bailey got that bunt down to load the bases. He’d already dropped a two-strike bunt this season so we felt good about his chances to do it again.
“Loading the bases with no outs really gave us some momentum and we capitalized on it.”
With a three-run advantage, Feierabend shut down Fairview over the final two innings, allowing just one batter to reach base and retiring the side in the seventh to close out the game.
“This was a good game for us,” Feierabend said. “Fairview’s a good team and we knew that they could make it difficult for us if we let them hang around. My teammates gave me that cushion in the fifth and I just fed off of it over the last two innings.”
The loss dropped Fairview to 1-1.
“North Ridgeville did a nice job today,” Fairview coach John Carter said. “They were patient and took advantage of situations as they came up. For us to win, we can’t be giving up five runs. It’s going to be difficult for us to generate enough runs to overcome that.”
Contact Hans Schneider at (440)-329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.