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Columbia 5, Lutheran West 4
By Mark Fenske  | staff
Thursday, May 9, 2013

COLUMBIA --  Lutheran West let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers as they fell on the road to Columbia last night when Columbia pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the eighth inning.  West had a strangle hold on the conference coming into the week, needing to win only one time to clinch a tie and twice to clinch the title outright.  West lost all three games by a combined total five runs, and looks as if they will come away with a second place finish in conference. 

West was 8-3 in conference before the week began.  They started the week with a 4-2 loss against Clearview, and fell to Brooklyn 5-3 on Wednesday.  They then dropped to Columbia 5-4 last night in extra innings.  Columbia, who was 7-5 coming into the week, did just the opposite, crushing Brooklyn 13-5, squeaking by Clearview 4-3, and then nipping LW 5-4.  West is now 8-6 and Columbia is 10-5.   West plays Oberlin on Monday and Black River on May 20.  Columbia finishes Monday against Brooklyn. 

Had LW pulled the game out last night, however, the earlier losses would have been irrelevant.  A win would have put them a game up in the loss column, and would have put them in the driver’s seat to bring home the title.

Columbia probably should not have scored at all in the eighth.  After a lead-off single to start the inning, Columbia’s second hitter in the inning, Kevin Simon laid down a sacrifice bunt.  Simon’s bunt went right back to Lutheran West junior pitcher Greg Kunze who easily could have thrown out the runner at second.  But Kunze didn’t have a good grip on the ball, and had to throw to first to get one out.  After a walk to put runners at first and second, Kunze coaxed a tailor made double play ball to senior CJ Griffin at shortstop.  Griffin sprinted over to second, touched the bag but threw high to first.  Junior Eric Szczepinski’s foot came off the base for just a second.  That second was just enough for the runner to beat it out and continue the inning.  The next batter hit a four hop seeing-eye single through the whole to score the runner from third.

After Columbia jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second, West came roaring back with three runs to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Szczepinski led off the frame with a single up the middle.  Griffin walked.  After senior Eric Lewis was called out on strikes, junior Derek Naim plated Szczepniski and moved Griffin to third with an RBI single to center.  When Columbia was trying to get reset after the play, they lost track of Griffin and he scored as well to tie the game at three. 

Naim scored the go ahead run for West when Columbia’s attempt to complete a double play ended up with an over throw to first.
The 4-3 lead would be short lived as the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth produced a run for Columbia on a double and single. 
Tue 4/2/13
W, 15-0
Sat 4/6/13
L, 11-5
Sat 4/6/13
L, 4-3
Mon 4/8/13
L, 12-2
Wed 4/10/13
L, 7-0
Thu 4/11/13
Fri 4/12/13
W, 13-0
Mon 4/15/13
W, 9-2
Wed 4/17/13
W, 17-4
Thu 4/18/13
W, 14-4
Mon 4/22/13
W, 5-0
Tue 4/23/13
L, 10-0
Wed 4/24/13
Thu 4/25/13
W, 15-12
Fri 4/26/13
W, 13-1
Mon 4/29/13
Wed 5/1/13
W, 5-1
Thu 5/2/13
W, 4-0
Mon 5/6/13
L, 4-2
Wed 5/8/13
L, 5-3
Thu 5/9/13
L, 5-4
Fri 5/10/13
Mon 5/13/13
W, 10-5
Wed 5/15/13
L, 8-2
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Lutheran West
3850 Linden Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116-4099

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

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