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Don't look now, but Stow-Murnoe Falls baseball could be playing some of its best ball heading into the postseason.
In fact, the Bulldogs were able to beat everyone they faced in the last week -- except Mother Nature.
Multiple rainouts played havoc with the Bulldogs's schedule last week, but Stow able to get a couple of quality wins between the raindrops.
On April 28, Stow scored a 4-2 home win over Aurora as the Bulldogs came back from an early deficit to defeat the Greenmen.
After several postponements, Stow got back on the field May 3 and pulled out a 1-0 win in 10 innings over Suburban League National Conference foe North Royalton.
As of press time, Stow's record stood at 9-10, 5-7 in the National Conference. Coach Aaron DeBord notes Stow was on a three-game winning streak as of press time, having won six of their last eight games following a 2-7 start.
Could Stow be attempting the kind of turnaround that led it all the way to the Division I regional final last season?
"That's the hope," DeBord said. "The kids are really hitting their stride at the right time. Like everyone, we were cooped up in the gym and it took some time for us to get going. We played everybody close. Even though we started 2-7, we could have been 7-2 without too much changing."
"It's a tribute to our leadership," DeBord said. "They stayed positive. The boys have done a good job staying the course, just like last year."
DeBord said he knew Aurora would be a test, as the Greenmen just claimed the title in the Suburban League American Conference last week.
"We challenged the kids to treat it like a playoff atmosphere at that game," DeBord said. "We were able to get out of some big jams early in the game. Our defense really stepped up."
Senior Jordan Jolly (2-2) picked up the win on the mound for Stow, going 5.33 innings, allowing two runs (none earned) off three hits and four walks with six strikeouts.
"He absolutely threw the ball great," DeBord said. "He's been the big-game guy for us."
Stow also got two strikeouts from reliever Stephen Falbo, while Eric Schilling pitched a scoreless seventh inning to get the save.
Aurora look the lead in the first inning when Evan Fromwiller scored on an error. The Greenmen then took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Fromwiller singled and later scored on a passed ball.
Stow took the lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. A single by Conger was followed by walks to Schilling and Jolly to load the bases. Stortstop Collin Lang then came through with a two-run single to tie the game.
An Aurora error then allowed Jolly to score and make it 3-2 Stow.
The Bulldogs got an insurance run in the sixth inning. After Griffin Mohney reached on an error, Matt Conger came through with an RBI single to make it 4-2.
Stow collected six hits in the game.
"We need to get a bit more consistent early in the game," DeBord said. "Our big guys are coming through for us late."
The game a game against North Royalton was Senior Night for Stow. In his first start of the season, Jack Miller pitched a great game, going scoreless eight innings, allowing four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Harris pitched 1.33 inning of scoreless relief, while Schilling (1-1) got the win by recording the final two outs.
The problem for Stow was, while the Bulldogs had 10 hits in the game, they left nine men on base.
"We didn't have the key hits for the first nine innings," DeBord said.
Conger was the hero for Stow in the bottom of the 10th inning, as he hit a walk-off RBI single to score Alex Cramer.
Stow was set to travel to North Royalton May 5 before playing Woodridge May 6 at Kent State University, but results were not available at press time.
Due to the rain, Stow will play a make-up game at Nordonia May 8 at 4:30 p.m.
As for the postseason, Stow was given the No. 6 seed in the Division I Struthers district tournament draw April 30. The Bulldogs will open the playoffs by hosting Youngstown East May 11 at 4:30 p.m. If victorious, Stow would travel top face No. 3 seed Boardman May 12 at 4:30 p.m.