April 27 was not a day fit for baseball. At first pitch in Chagrin Falls, playing host to rival Kenston, the temperature was 40 degrees with a slight drizzle.
Despite the weather, it was a clinic for clean, fundamental baseball, as the Tigers took down the Bombers, 1-0.
Tigers pitcher Tyler Kennedy pitched like he wanted to be out of the bitter cold as quickly as possible. He threw a complete-game two-hitter with five strikeouts.
“In about 15 years, that’s about as good a game I’ve seen pitched against an opponent like Kenston,” Chagrin Falls coach Mike Sweeney said.
Kennedy was efficient and overpowering. He needed nine pitches (eight strikes) to cruise through the top of the first. He struck out the side in order in the second, needing 11 pitches. Kennedy said he knew he was going to be sharp before he threw his first pitch.
“I knew from the beginning because I was focused on hitting my spots,” Kennedy said. “I knew coming in I thought I could throw strikes.”
Sam Obringer broke up the no-hitter with two outs in the third with a single to left. Before Adam Bush could try to make something happen, Kennedy threw over and got Obringer into a rundown that ended the inning.
The pickoff was well-timed, as Bush sent a double to the left-field fence to lead off the fourth. Bush took a walking lead and felt he had Kennedy’s move timed. Like everything else Kennedy threw in the game, he put the ball in the right place — his twin brother Bryant’s glove at third base — to throw out the runner. He retired the next 11 in a row to end the game, facing the minimum 21 batters.
It’s incredible. I didn’t know I did that,” he said of the feat. “I just focused keeping it down low and being consistent going through the ball, working away and inside.”
Even better, Kennedy, a senior, did it for the last time in his career against his rival and the Tigers’ last time hosting their rivals as a conference foe.
It was an incredible feeling,” he said. “I was so pumped. I tried to stay focused and do what I do and just let the defense go to work.”
Bush hit a long fly ball to left to start the game and the Bombers’ second hitter, freshman Matthew Pecoraro, had the other hard hit balls against Kennedy, whose defense had his back all game.
“He pitched a good game,” Kenston coach Bob Ford said. “I’ve got no complaints with our team. It was a good high school baseball game. The kid did a good job. We just have hack away and try and get back into it. He had us off balance all game.”
Chagrin Falls squeaked across its run in the third thanks to some good base running.
Leadoff hitter Max Maistros singled and attempted a steal as Tyler Kennedy shot a ball into the hole between first and second base. The hit allowed Maistros to reach third, and Tyler Zaluski followed with an RBI single back up the middle for the games only run.
It was only one run, but with the way Kennedy was throwing and the Tigers’ defense behind him, it was more than enough.
“Defense is a little like hitting,” Sweeney said. “You get into a groove sometimes like you’re swinging well. It’s very similar. We feel pretty good any time Tyler takes the mound. We had guys step up and play defense behind him, it was good.”
Kenston starter Ben Princic went four innings, allowing one run and three hits.
“Our kids loved to play Kenston,” Sweeney said. “They’re friends outside. It’s a big rival and one of the last time’s we’ll play in the conference. They’re always good and well coached.”
The two meet again for the last time as CVC foes at 4:30 on April 28 at Kenston.