AVON — It was the best of times and the worst of times Monday for the Lorain County Ironmen at The Pipe Yard.
In the first game of a Prospect League doubleheader against the Chillicothe Paints, Lorain County could do no wrong as it pounded out 17 hits on the way to a 17-3 win.
In the second game, the Ironmen left 12 men on base, walked five batters and hit three more, dropping a 10-1 decision to their in-state rivals.
Lorain County (5-6) put on an offensive clinic in the opening game. The Ironmen tied a franchise record, set less than a week ago, with 17 runs and fell one short of the team’s record for hits.
They scored two runs in the first, four in the second, three more in the third and capped off the onslaught with an eight-run fourth inning.
“I love the hitting,” Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg said. “We finally got our full roster in here in the past few days. I was told these guys could swing the bats and they are showing what they can do.”
Elyria grad Nolan Neuschafer led off the first with a double and scored one of his three runs when he ran home on a passed ball.
Cleanup hitter Nate Antone, who plays college ball at Potomac State, had three hits and three RBIs in Game 1.
But the bottom of the Ironmen’s order also factored in the run production. Shortstop Michael Burke went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs batting in the No. 8 slot. No. 9 hitter James DiBiasio was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
DiBiasio, a Westlake native, is hitting .333 over his first eight games of the summer and gives much of the credit to Ironmen hitting coach Joe Charboneau.
“I was working with Charboneau in batting practice and he was showing me how to turn on the inside ball and that’s how I got my hits today,” DiBiasio said. “I think a lot of the reason we’ve been hitting the ball so well is because of Charboneau. He has worked with minor league and professional hitters and helped them improve their game. That’s just the kind of coaching we need.”
Lorain County also took advantage of Chillicothe errors to score nine unearned run in the opener.
Lost in the offensive fireworks was another fine start from Vermilion native Adam Beach. Beach went five innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. Only one of the runs was earned. Beach, whose ERA is a minuscule 0.60, also struck out seven hitters.
“It’s easy to have confidence going out on the mound when my team gives me this kind of run support and my defense is making plays behind me,” Beach said.
Beach said he was given the choice of pitching in the first or second game of the doubleheader and chose Game 1.
“Coach always says the hitters don’t want to get out of bed early and I wanted to take advantage of that,” Beach said.
In Game 2, The Paints got to Lorain County starter Michael Clarke for five runs in the third inning and never looked back. Clarke struggled with his control, walking four in three innings. A wild pitch, passed ball and throwing error also helped the Paints score their third-inning runs with the benefit of just two hits.
Chillicothe (4-7) broke the game open with two runs in the fourth inning and three more in the sixth.
Paints starter Casey Webber tossed five shutout innings. Webber, who plays collegiately at Western Michigan, has yet to allow a run in 111⁄3 innings this season.
One of the lone bright spots for the Ironmen in Game 2 was the play of catcher Connor Weir. Weir, an Amherst native, was 2-for-3 and drove in their lone run with a sixth-inning single that scored Jeff Cola
“We faced a pretty good pitcher today,” Weir said. “He had good command and a really good curveball. He kept us off balance all day.”
Although the second game did not turn out in the Ironmen’s favor, Weir still thought it was a productive day.
“Chillicothe has one of the best programs in this league,” he said. “We proved we can compete with them. That means we can compete with anyone in this league.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.