LORAIN — Lorain County pitcher Brad Raley has spent the past three years pitching at Division II’s Lake Erie College. On Friday night he looked like someone in search of a much bigger stage.
The Ironmen right-hander pitched seven no-hit innings before West Virginia’s Kenny May led off the eighth with a single to left. It was the Miners’ only hit of the game as Lorain County defeated the division leader 4-0 at The Pipe Yard.
Raley (3-3) retired the first 11 West Virginia hitters before Pat Kregeloh reached base on an error — one of four for the Ironmen — in the fourth inning. Raley struck out eight and retired nine batters on groundballs. Only four Miners hit a ball into the outfield against Raley.
“I was getting ahead in the count — winning the 0-0 count and the 1-1 count,” Raley said. “Honestly before the game I was a little nervous. The stuff in the bullpen didn’t look good at all. Pitchers will tell you though that’s usually when you throw your best stuff, so it worked out for me.”
Ironmen left fielder Tyler Bires, who was 3-for-3 at the plate, said he could tell from his position in the field that Raley had all of his pitches working.
“Nobody ever says anything when you have something like a (no-hitter) going, but I’m just sitting back in the outfield thinking Brad had it going on,” Bires said. “He kept his pitches down and when he does that he’s hard to hit. It was even better for him to do it against a really good team.”
The Miners (34-18) came into the game second in the Prospect League in runs scored.
Raley pitched 7⅔ innings before turning the ball over to Matt Ellenbest, who retired all four hitters he faced to complete the shutout and earn his first save of the year.
“Brad is a big, strong kid and he has been getting better all summer,” Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg said. “I still think he doesn’t understand the potential that he has.
He’s been at Lake Erie for three years and this is a step up competition wise for him, and he has really responded to it.”
Lorain County (20-32) opened the scoring in the second inning when Scott Spleet singled and took advantage of two West Virginia errors to come around and score. The Ironmen added a run in the fourth inning on a Billy Salem single that scored Ryan Langhals. They scored runs in the seventh and eighth innings to seal the victory.
“Everything started with Brad and all we had to do was produce runs, so he took the pressure off of the rest of the team,” Bires said. “We put together a good game as a team. It was an overall team effort.”
With eight games remaining in the season, the Ironmen will begin their final road trip today at Slippery Rock. Lorain County makes stops at Richmond and Butler before returning home next weekend to play its final three games of the year.
Raley is scheduled to make one more start for the Ironmen before returning to Lake Erie College.
“This is a great way to wind down the summer season and get ready for college fall ball,” Raley said. “I can’t wait to tell my college coach about tonight.”
It wasn’t a good night for Ironmen shortstop Anthony Nemer, who was ejected in the seventh inning after a home plate collision led to a shoving match with West Virginia catcher Tyler Wilkins. Both benches briefly emptied but order was quickly restored.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or email@example.com.