AMHERST — North Ridgeville shortstop Trent Miller blew out the candles for his birthday Saturday but not before helping the Rangers advance to the semifinals of the Amherst Baseball Summer Classic with a 10-0, five-inning win over Midview.
Miller was locked in at the plate, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He was a part of nearly everything that went right for the offense, including a seven-run fourth inning.
“It’s like a dream you have to come out on your birthday and hit very well and mercy (rule) a team and go on to play in the semifinal game (today),” Miller said. “We had a game earlier in the day, a state championship game, and unfortunately we did lose that. So I was already kind of warmed up beforehand.”
With the tournament on the line, North Ridgeville’s offense woke up in the fourth inning when it sent 12 players to the plate. Nine straight players reached safely, including seven straight on hits.
“(The coaches) knew and all the kids knew what was on the line and they were mentally prepared. Midview was pitching fine and our bats finally woke up after two games,” North Ridgeville coach Timo Quintana said. “They knew they had to step up their game because they came out flat against a very good Keystone team. They gutted one out against Bay and we didn’t hit the ball very well against Bay.”
Offense and pitching is something the Rangers will need today when they face Amherst.
“Our pitching, they’re definitely going to need to hit their spots,” Quintana said. “Hopefully we can roll some ground balls. We’ll have to rely on our defense, but Amherst is going to hit anybody. They’ve always hit the ball very well in the conference.”
Stopping an offense such as Amherst will be difficult, but the Rangers understand their bats are equally as important if they want to advance to the title game.
“Everyone is going to have to hit, I’m going to have to hit and we’re just going to have to play lockdown in the infield and outfield.” Miller said.
Tasked with the most important game in the tournament thus far, soon to be sophomore Noah Grendzynski pitched a masterpiece. In five shutout innings, Grendzynski allowed only four hits and struck out seven without a walk.
“I just tried to go up there and throw to win it for my team,” Grendzynski said. “I just try and have the same mentality that I do when I pitch to kids my age and try and keep it around the strike zone.”
“He pitched very well. Believe it or not I was not shocked,” Quintana said of Grendzysnki. “He pitched very well at the freshman level and he got a lot of innings in and he played on a good summer team. We were excited for him coming in and he knew he had the opportunity to pitch in this game.”
Midview entered the day understaffed at numerous positions, with players either playing in other games or having to go into work early. Even with the result, the Middies learned a lot about what will be required to compete at the highest level in Lorain County.
“Understaffed is an easy way to put it today. These kids have made an effort to come out and play this,” Midview coach Carl Lambert said. “A lot of my players missing were starters or players that have been producing in this tournament, so it was hard. I had to go with a lot of underclassmen.”
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