LAFFERTY - It was teacher vs. former pupils Thursday night as the Steele and Cook Insurance Ohio Valley Baseball League's championship series got under way here on the Community Park diamond.
Mark Cisar, the former head football coach and assistant baseball coach turned head coach at Union Local, got the better of his former players as he hurled fifth-seeded Maynard to a 3-1 victory over No. 2 seed Lafferty (20-7) in game one of the best-of-5 event before a nice-sized crowd.
With the come-from-behind win, Maynard (19-7) will seek a 2-0 advantage tonight when game two unfolds on the Firemen's Field diamond at Maynard's Community Park. The first pitch is set for 6.
Lafferty first baseman Tyler McGary makes a sliding catch of a popped up bunt during Thursday night’s game one.
"This was a two-inning game," Maynard manager Laney Simone Sr. said. "They had that big first inning when they could have blown the game wide-open, but Mark settled down and got out of that bad spot by only giving up one run.
"He minimized all the wreckage that could've happened, and then we came back and scored some runs," Simone Sr. added. "We probably should've scored some more."
Trailing 1-0 after five innings, Maynard erupted for five straight hits to start the sixth, scoring three times off Dodgers' ace Mark Smyth.
D.J. Busby led off with an infield single and went to second when Cisar smacked a single down the third base line. Zack Kinnick's shot between third and short sent Busby to the plate with the tying run. The throw from the outfield sailed over the backstop, allowing Cisar to score and Kinnick to take third. B.A. Holloway followed with a single to right that easily plated Kinnick.
That would be enough run support for the veteran Cisar. The righthander allowed a run in the first inning on a pair of singles, a wild pitch and a groundout, but retired 20 of the final 22 Dodgers he faced. He threw a mere 82 pitches, with 65 being strikes. He faced 25 batters - four over the minimum - and recorded a first-pitch strike on 20 of them.
"I started hitting spots," the 38-year-old former Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand said. "They had a couple of pretty good hits in the first inning on my account. They put the ball in play and made something happen."
Myron Jellison singled to right on the second pitch he saw leading off the first inning. With one out, a wild pitch advanced Jellison to second and Tyler McGary's single to left moved Jellison to third. Tyler Grant's groundout to second made it 1-0.
It would stay that way until the sixth as Lafferty rode the strong right arm of Smyth, the former Edison High and current West Liberty University standout. He held Maynard to three harmless singles until the fateful sixth.
"I got a little tired," Smyth admitted. "But that wasn't the reason. I tried to go at them with too many fastballs."
Maynard finished with 10 hits as Busby (2 singles), Kinnick (2 singles), Holloway (2 singles) and Max Schimmel (single, double) accounted for eight of them.
"The guys hung around and finally broke loose there in the sixth," Simone Sr. noted.
Cisar gave up just three hits - all singles - during his route-going performance. He struck out four and walked one. He only went to three balls twice.
"We did a great job of putting the ball in play today," Lafferty manager Darrick Phillips allowed. "We just couldn't find a hole and they (Maynard) made some good plays."
McGary had two of the three Lafferty hits.
Smyth fanned six and walked one. He threw 109 pitches, of which 76 were strikes.
"This is going to be a great series," Cisar said. "Smitty (Smyth) pitched well enough to win today, but this was huge for us to come here and get a win in game one."
No. 2 went to Lafferty third baseman Austin Curry who backhanded a drive down the line and pegged a strike to first to end the third.
No. 3 goes to Kinnick - twice. The Maynard rightfielder made two diving catches in right-center.
All told, the two - Curry and Holloway - each charted four assists, with Holloway also recording a putout.
Maynard 000 003 0- 3 10 0
Lafferty 100 000 0- 1 3 1
Batteries: Cisar and Androsko. Smyth and Jellison.
North can be reached at email@example.com