NORTH RIDGEVILLE - Admiral King scored four unearned runs in the fourth inning and turned back North Ridgeville 5-2 Thursday in a Division I sectional game.
After loading the bases in the third inning and coming away empty-handed, the Admirals (5-14) didn`t squander their second opportunity to score some runs.
"We played a great game today and got a great performance from our sophomore starter (Andy) Dito," King coach John Akosi said. "All year we`ve been pitching behind to hitters and today he never got that chance because he kept getting ahead on the count."
North Ridgeville (5-18) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a pair of errors. With one out, the Rangers` Conor Sullivan hit a hard smash to third that was misplayed. He then stole second and came home on Chris Newton`s single to right.
It was the only run the Rangers scored until the seventh inning.
North Ridgeville starting pitcher Matt McGinty walked the bases loaded with one out in the third inning. His defense came to his aid with a double play and the Admirals didn`t score.
The fourth inning was a different story as the Admirals cashed in on McGinty`s inability to find the strike zone and a big error that led to those four unearned runs.
After Caleb Borden struck out, Dito drew a walk.
Jeff Fraley followed with a made-to-order double play grounder, but a bad throw resulted in no outs being recorded. The play seemed to rattle McGinty, who walked Andy Coon to load the bases and then hit Collin Bryant, forcing in the tying run.
Luis Mendez dropped down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Fraley with Coon moving to third and Mendez to second. Coon scored on a wild pitch with Mendez moving to third.
Mike Bonzar then stroked a double down the right-field line to score Mendez.
For all intents and purposes that inning was the game as Dito settled in and started throwing with greater confidence. He allowed just one hit until the seventh inning.
"I just had to get ahead of the hitters and let my defense make the plays," Dito said. "My defense made a lot of nice plays behind me. I had a lot of confidence in my curveball today. I`ve been working on it the last few weeks to get it better."
The Admirals added their fifth run in the sixth inning as Chad Hall singled home Bonzar with two outs.
The Rangers threatened in the bottom of the seventh but could only manage one run.
"I give our kids a lot of credit because we never gave up," said Rangers coach Nori Okuma, whose team has lost 15 straight. "Even in that last inning we had the tying run in the on-deck circle.
"We`ve had a very difficult season. Our offense has struggled all year, but even with all that I give our kids credit for battling all the way to the end.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or email@example.com.