In seven-inning games, it’s a luxury for high school batters just to get four plate appearances much less four hits.
Although, Ohio baseball has had some pretty wild offensive performances, like Cardinal Mooney’s Ken Lisko hitting five home runs in a game against Boardman in 1976, or like Holy Name’s Mike Karoglan hitting four triples in a game against Elyria Catholic in 2005. Heck, there are even seven players who hit two grand slams in a single game.
The most hits in one game are six, which has been done 27 times, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book.
West Geauga senior shortstop Vince Pasquale didn’t quite have the opportunity for six at-bats during the Wolverines’ 8-7 victory to sweep Chagrin Valley Conference rival Hawken School on Monday night, but he put together a rare performance, to say the least.
With four hits, including an inside-the-park home run to tie the game, 7-7, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pasquale completed the cycle to lead his team to victory.
“It was over his head, but a little bit in the gap,” Pasquale said about the home run at Hawken School’s turf outfield, which is more than 400 feet deep in some areas. While West Geauga was the home team, the game was played at Hawken because of wet conditions.
Pasquale swung at a 2-1 pitch for that home run.
“I knew he probably wasn’t going to give me much junk, but I saw it come in nice and flat, and I saw it early,” he said. “So, I attacked it. It was a shot, from what my teammates tell me. And it was just a phenomenal feeling to know I put my team back in it.”
Not only did the home run tie up the game, but it was Pasquale’s first time hitting for the cycle at any level of baseball, he said.
“Everyone has been referring to me as ‘Mr. Cycle’ all day today,” he said. “I’d put it up there pretty high, because to get lucky enough to get four at-bats and put bat on ball and get every base, I think it’s pretty slim chances.”
In the Wolverines’ first victory of their series against Hawken, 5-2, last Thursday, Pasquale hit out of the leadoff spot. But he swapped positions in the order with senior center fielder Max Schweiger on Monday, which, in turn, allowed him to see Hawken freshman Devin Anthony’s pitches before his first at-bat.
Out of the two-hole in his first at-bat, Pasquale hit a double to left, stole third base and was able to score when Hawken’s infielder booted the ball on the throw to that bag for a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
“I think it took a little bit of pressure off my back, just knowing I wasn’t going to be first up and not being able to see what their pitcher has beforehand,” Pasquale said. “That definitely helped.”
In the third inning, Pasquale hit a one-out triple on a rip that snuck by Hawken’s left fielder and continued to roll to the fence. With Hawken’s turf outfield the same area as the Lady Hawks’ soccer field, the fence is actually a box border rather than an arc, meaning the areas in left center and right center are deeper than dead center.
Following the triple, Pasquale was knocked home by sophomore Joe Carcelli on a ground-out to short for a 2-0 lead.
“It was another left-field shot,” Pasquale said of his triple. “I didn’t really see what happened with the ball, but I think he just missed it, or it was over his head, and it’s all turf, so it just rolls. So, 100 percent that helped.”
And in the fourth inning, Pasquale reached base on an infield single to short to load the bases amidst a four-run rally that provided the Wolverines a 6-2 upper hand.
Also during that rally, senior Stephen Javorek led off with a single from the six-hole, junior Jake Carcelli drew a seven-pitch walk, and junior Jimmy Rogant bunted aboard to load the bases with no outs. Senior Chris Meyer then hit an RBI single to left, Schweiger hit a sacrifice fly to center, and Pasquale reloaded the bases on his single.
The younger Carcelli went on to hit an RBI single to right, and junior Riley Huge hit a sac fly to center to take command of that four-run lead.
But Hawken battled back with three runs in the top of the fifth, off singles by junior Jack Bukovik, Anthony, senior Nick Bislich and freshman Nick Bollinger, and two more runs in the sixth, off a triple by sophomore Ryan McMullen, a double by Anthony and a sac fly by Bislich, to take a 7-6 lead.
The Wolverines reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Pasquale hit that previously mentioned inside-the-park home run, the younger Carcelli and Huge were hit by pitches out of the four and five spots, and then Javorek lined a single to center for the eventual game-winning RBI.
Not only did Javorek finish three-of-three hitting, but he also put in five innings of work on the hill, tossing 67.4 percent of his 89 pitches for strikes, giving up six hits, three earned runs and three walks while striking out six. But Rogant got the win in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
In the Wolverines’ previous win against Hawken – that 5-2 affair last Thursday – Huge was the winning pitcher with 61.8 percent of his 102 deliveries going for strikes. He surrendered just two hits, four walks and one earned run while striking out 11 batters.
West Geauga scored all five runs in the fourth inning of that game, when senior Matt Stewart hit a two-RBI single and Rogant hit a two-RBI double.
On Tuesday, the Wolverine sluggers won their third straight CVC game by way of a 4-3 home affair against Perry, improving their season record to 7-6 with a 4-3 mark in the league.
Offensively, West G scored three runs in the first inning on singles from Schweiger and Pasquale and RBIs from the younger Carcelli, Huge and Stewart. Schweiger also led off the third with a single and provided the winning run.
On the mound, Huge tossed a complete game on 115 pitches, surrendering one hit, seven walks and two earned runs while striking out five Pirate batters.
Up next, West G hits the road to finish its series against Perry at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.