CADIZ - Rubber-armed Rashaen Marshall delivered 129 pitches and allowed just four hits in helping Cadiz Post 34's American Legion baseball team salvage a split during the opening day of the Edgar Martin Beast of the East Baseball Classic Thursday at the heat-baked Bob Mazeroski Field.
The Harrison Central senior-to-be overcame nine walks with 10 strikeouts as Post 34 scored five times in a bizarre top of the sixth to finally pull away from the Garfield Heights Bulldogs for an 8-3 victory. Earlier in the day, Cadiz dropped a 10-6 decision to the Baltimore Devil Rays despite four RBI from Marshall, the designated hitter who doubled in a pair of runs and picked up two more RBI on infield bounce outs.
The split left Post 34 (6-10) manager Brandt Mazeroski with hopes that his team was ready to turn things around this season.
''If we start cashing in our opportunities we can win some games," Mazeroski said. ''In the first game, we left the bases loaded a couple of times and some boo-boos cost us. This was a good win for our kids.''
Cadiz didn't exactly crush the baseball in the game-winning sixth-inning rally when it scored five runs to break a 3-3 deadlock.
Post 34 had just three singles in the frame, none of which drove in a run. Cadiz loaded the bases when Josh Sokolowski singed to left field on the first pitch, D.J. Busby reached on a bunt single and Spencer Badia drew a two-out walk. Mitchell then accounted for the tie-breaking run when he walked on a 3-2 pitch off a tiring Bulldogs starter Mike Castle.
Nick Pelegreen was hit by a pitch forcing in the second run, signaling the end of the day for Castle, who was replaced by Kevin Palachok. The inning quickly turned into a nightmare for the Bulldogs as three consecutive wild pitches resulted in runs crossing the plate, putting the game out of reach.
The extended inning also brought the two-hour time limit into play as Mayfield Heights found itself with just one more opportunity to swing the bat. Mitchell, after not allowing a base hit since the second inning, returned to the mound and got two quick outs before Dillon Dalton dropped a single into right field. However, the game ended with the rangy Post 34 hurler fanning Palachok for his 10th strikeout.
Mazeroski said he never considered removing Mitchell from the mound despite the nine walks he surrendered and his high pitch count. ''I told him it was his game to win or lose and he said give me the ball," Mazeroski said. ''When he finally settled in and found his groove, he got some big outs.''
Batting first, Post 34 jumped ahead 1-0 in the opening inning when Busby singled to left and rode home on Nick Patrone's ringing double that carried to the fence in left field.
Castle's single, Mitchell's throwing error and Brandon Terek's single to right tied the score and the Bulldogs scored again later in the frame as Mitchell uncorked a wild pitch. Garfield Heights increased the lead 3-1 an inning later as Tyler Pierce reached on a throwing after after he had struck out and the ball was dropped at home plate. He moved around to third on Castle's single and also scored on yet another wild pitch.
Pelegreen homered leading off the fourth inning with a 360-foot blast over the fence in left field. Singles by Chase Hopkins, Bo Bailey and Ike Williams tied the score at 3-3.
Baltimore Devil Rays 10, Cadiz 6
Mike Everling's three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning put the Devil Rays in front 5-4. An inning later, Everling roped a single up the middle bringing home two more runs, giving him five RBI on the day as the Baltimore area club finished the first day of the Beast with a perfect 2-0 record.
Cadiz had broken out to a 4-1 lead during the first two-and-a-half innings with Mitchell swinging a big bat. His double with the bases loaded scored a pair of runs in the opening frame. Post 34 added two more tallies in the top of the second. Dustin Rath's triple scoring Pelegreen, who had walked. Mitchell's bounce out to third base plated in the second tally.
Post 34 regained the lead at 6-5 in the fourth inning on infield outs by Mitchell and Chase Hopkins after the Cadiz Legion had loaded the bases with nobody out when Busby and Patrone singled and Spencer Badia walked.
The Devil rays' three-run fifth inning included a walk, RBI doubles by Shroan Sinila and Josh Gall along with Jason Friestat's run-scoring single.