LILLY – With the 10-run rule in effect, the Cleveland B2Bulls began this year’s tournament with a 13-1 victory over the Zanesville Junior Pioneers at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Field.
The B2Bulls started strong, by shutting down the Junior Pioneers’ offense early before scoring two runs at the bottom of the first inning.
Cleveland pitcher Daniel Thomas aided in holding back the Zanesville offense by contributing eight strikeouts during the five innings he played. In getting the win, Thomas surrendered one run on three hits over five innings.
“I do give credit to my pitchers. They went out and threw well,” Cleveland B2Bulls manager Jim Savel said. “I think Daniel threw 81 pitches and had 63 strikes. When you do that, you’re going to be successful. You’re going to strike someone out, but you’re also going to have the defense ready for you because they know you’re throwing strikes.”
“Going out there, I was just thinking about throwing strikes. That’s what I’ve always been taught to do,” Thomas said.
The fifth inning saw Cleveland bury Zanesville with a barrage that saw eight runs cross the plate despite the B2Bulls picking up just two hits in the frame. Six walks and a hit batsman compounded the issues for the Junior Pioneers, eventually leading to the 10-run rule being put into effect after the top of the seventh inning.
“A little shaky defense here and there during the innings, but we got through it,” Savel said. “Our hitting was timely, we took advantage of the walks and did a great job on the bases today.”
Zanesville’s pitcher Kyler Spinks was saddled with the loss. First baseman/relief pitcher Nate Blevins scored the Junior Pioneers’ only run of the game during the third.
Monday’s win was a prolific debut for the B2Bulls, who are making their tournament debut as the Cleveland representative.
“I told the guys, ‘It’s our first trip here, have some fun, play ball the way we know how to play, do the things right and we should be OK,’ ” Savel said. “And they seem to have come out and done that today.”
Before the beginning of Monday’s game, the teams and coordinators at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Field took a moment of silent prayer to honor the memory of Cory Isenberg, who was a sportswriter for The Tribune-Democrat for 35-years who sadly passed away in April. It was said during the tribute that Lilly-Washington was Isenberg’s favorite field from which to cover games during the AAABA Tournament.
The B2Bulls face Philadelphia at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Field at noon on Tuesday while Zanesville will take on Altoona-2 squad Johnston Realty at Mount Aloysius, also at noon.
“I just told them: ‘Hey, let’s just duplicate what we did today,’ ” Savel said.