ERIE — It was a season of near misses for the Erie baseball team, but the Tigers were right on target in their finale Saturday.
Right on target for the future, that is.
The host Tigers blasted Skyline 16-7, as they closed out the Tri-Valley League slate by scoring the final 14 runs and, more importantly, entered the offseason with positive feelings.
And why not? Erie graduates only two seniors, has a young up-and-coming coach in Harold Simmons (32) and largely exceeded expectations this season.
“We lost four games by one run, and if we would have just gone the other way with two of them, we would have been tied for second,” Erie junior catcher Ryan Fesmire said. “But this was a lot better than it was a expected to be.”
The Tigers finished 11-8 overall, 7-7 in league. Erie was a game behind Windsor for the fourth and final playoff spot in the league.
Knowing their playoff fate had been sealed, the Tigers made it a day of celebration for senior outfielder Taylor Dudley (2-for-4, one triple, two RBIs) and pitcher Brendan Tow, who started on the mound.
The story, though, was sophomore pitcher Dylan Brink.
In his second varsity appearance, Brink pitched 52/3 innings of nearly spotless relief. He allowed one run on two hits, and none of either in the final four innings.
“We did a good job this season fighting back and becoming a better team and better as individuals,” Simmons said. “But unfortunately we dug a hole early.”
The contest had a bit of spring-training feel with both teams liberally substituting and with a combined nine errors.
Even Erie’s walk-up songs were unavailable, so every player walked up to country music, making it seem as if their parents had selected their songs.
Fesmire, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, actually felt right at home because he is the only Tigers player who actually has a country walk-up tune.
“I loved it,” he said.
Also starring for Erie were Zach Woodruff, Caleb Crites, Connor Conilogue and Coltin Brink, all of whom went 2-for-3 and drove in a combined six runs.
For Skyline (3-16, 1-13), it was the culmination of a difficult season.
The Falcons jumped ahead 7-2 with help from three RBIs in the first two innings from right fielder Derek Searls. But the Falcons couldn’t keep Erie off the scoreboard and failed to mount much of anything against Dylan Brink.
“I wouldn’t call it typical, I would just call it poor execution, if anything,” senior third baseman Brandon Moore said. “This season was interesting to say the least.”
The Falcons dropped 14 of their final 15 games.
“We’re a young team and there’s so much room for improvement,” Moore said. “We did things good, we did things bad. But we still learned things every day.”
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
Erie 16, Skyline 7
At Erie H.S.
Skyline (3-16, 1-13) 151 000 0 — 7 5 3
Erie (11-8, 7-7) 117 250 X — 16 17 6
W — D. Brink (1-0). L — Miller (0-6)
Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Angstead 4-1-1-0, Stoops 2-2-2-1, Reigle 2-1-0-1, Hoog 1-0-0-0, Searls 4-1-2-3, Moore 3-0-0-0, Soriano 4-0-0-0, Baessler 2-0-0-0, White 2-0-0-0, Costazza 2-1-0-0, Hamby 1-0-0-0, Forsyth 2-1-0-0. Totals 29-7-5-5. 2B — Stoops. 3B — Angstead. SB — Searls.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Reider 3-2-1-1, Jensen 1-0-0-0, Woodruff 3-2-2-1, Ramey 1-1-1-0, Fesmire 4-0-3-2, Wilden 1-0-0-0, Lee 4-3-1-1, Dudley 4-2-2-2, Crites 3-2-2-1, Leahy 2-1-1-0, Conilogue 3-0-2-3, Romey 0-1-0-0, C. Brink 3-2-2-1. Totals 32-16-17-12. 2B — Fesmire, Crites. 3B — Dudley. SB — Crites, Ramey.
Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Angstead 2-3-5-5-4-0, Miller 0.2-2-4-2-2-1, Stoops 2.1-9-7-6-2-3, Soriano 1-1-0-0-0-0.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Tow 1.1-3-6-4-5-2, D. Brink 5.2-2-1-1-1-4.