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Rawlings Hit Lifts Wildcats

Edison rallies, will play in regionals

May 16, 2012
By FRED YOUNCE , Ogden Newspapers

WARSAW - After an emotional 15-inning victory against Steubenville on Saturday, there was danger of a letdown for the Edison baseball team Tuesday in its Ohio Division II District final matchup with Dover at River View High School.

"There's always a concern," Edison coach Mike Collopy said. "(Monday) although we were indoors we had a really good practice. We were really focused. You always worry about that. A long game, coming back on a short week after.

"We were concerned, but after practice I wasn't concerned."

Collopy was right to be relieved because a letdown never happened. The Wildcats received a gem from pitcher Greg Stagani, played error-free defense, bounced back from a 2-0 deficit and picked up a game-winning, sixth-inning RBI from designated hitter Warren Rawlings en route to a 3-2 victory aganst the Tornadoes.

"Greg pitched a great game," Collopy said. "Defensively we made all the plays. We had two clutch hits. We went down 2-0 and we talked about just getting one run there. Nolan (Marcus) started us off, Koby (Sronce) had a big hit, and then Warren was able to get the game-winning hit. We're happy for them and we're happy to move on.

"The district title means we're one step closer to where everyone wants to be. We're happy but we're not satisfied. We're going to look to regroup and have a couple of good days of practice and get back after it."

Stagani went the distance to pick up a victory. The senior hurler gave up two runs on three hits while striking out eight. He let just one fourth-inning pitch get away from him.

With a Dover's Wes Baker on first and two outs in the bottom of the fourth a Stagani offering was connected with by Josh Zucal and carried over the short fence in right field to give the Tornadoes a 2-0 lead.

The lead was short-lived though as the Wildcats struck back in the top of the fifth. Marcus led off with a single and was brought home on a Sronce RBI double. Stagani helped his own cause with an RBI single to score Sronce and tie the game at 2-2.

"As a kid you're not going to meet anyone better than him," Collopy said of Stagani. "As a competitor that's what we want. The worst thing you can do is worry about the pitch that just happened. It's the next pitch and he got right back on it.

"He was able to shut them out the rest of the inning and then help us get some runs."

In the top of the sixth Alec Jones drew a free pass to start things. Phil Hilt moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt and Jones took third on a passed ball. That set the table for Rawlings' heroics as he hit a hard ground ball into left field for a single and a 3-2 Edison lead.

"Warren, not that I'm going to be partial towards anybody, but he's had a really trying season and I'm really happy for him right there," Collopy said. "He stuck with us when a lot of people would have probably packed it in on us. He's mentally tough and he came through when we really needed it."

That was all Stagani needed with Dover never threatening to score in the final two innings and when Jones secured a pop fly in center for the final out of the seventh inning, the Wildcats celebrated the district championship and a berth in the regional tournament May 24 against the winner of Thursday's game between Chillicothe Unito and Lancaster Fairfield Union.

"We're going to get Coach (Jim) Marcus' van all gassed up," Collopy said jokingly about his scouting trip. "I think he's going to foot the bill this time. We'll head down there Thursday. Hopefully we'll be able to get a couple of good scouts and figure some things out.

"At the regional level it comes down to being able to make routine plays, pitchers throwing strikes, and timely hits. Obviously we don't expect to be lucky but going on there has to be some luck involved.

"We're hoping to keep getting good pitching performances, solid defense, and timely hits. We'll see where we go from there."

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