Mohawk baseball team defeats Beaver in nonsection action

Apr. 26—The Mohawk High baseball team played against a higher-classification team on Thursday and walked away with a win.

The Warriors defeated Beaver, 10-1, in a nonsection home game.

Mohawk is a Class 3A school and the Bobcats compete in Class 4A.

"It's something you try to do, especially in the back end of your schedule. You want to start scheduling teams really above your weight class just to kind of prepare in hopes that you're in a position to get into the playoffs," Mohawk coach Nick Maiorano said. "Hopefully, if you are, then you're playing these teams that are of higher caliber and you can kind of prepare for that long back run at the end of the season."

Mohawk positioned a runner on third in the bottom of the first inning, but a foul out ended the threat. Briar Crawford (3-0) picked up the win on the mound after pitching three innings and surrendering four hits, one run — earned — and pitching one walk and four strikeouts.

In the top of the second inning, Crawford had to deal with a bases-loaded situation, allowing Beaver's Derek Hughes to plate the lone run of the game for his team.

"I think it was a good outing. Briar had a little bit of a layoff with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) so he's getting back and getting built back up to where he needs to be," Maiorano said. "I thought he was good. I thought he was sharp. The fastball velocity looked like it was back and the curveball looked like it was there. Things happen. A kid fouled off two or three pitches and that at bat worked a walk. So, great at bat by him. We started with a single and walk, hit by pitch and a couple of those at bats were really good by Beaver that put them in that situation. But, he worked out of it, only gave up one run and found a way to get it done.

"That's the signs of where he's progressing...that's the maturity aspect of it in that those innings don't get away from him. He can buckle down and limit damage. That was a very mature inning by him to navigate."

Mohawk's JJ Nail responded to the one-run lead Beaver created by knotting up the game at one in the bottom of the second inning.

"We're excited for JJ. His batting practice rounds have been phenomenal," Maiorano said. "He's been hitting home run after home run. He's had this power surge and you don't really know where it comes from. But, he's looked great and it shows on the field. He's come up with a couple of clutch hits for us. He had one in Ellwood to tie it and then one here. It's been a good year so far JJ."

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In the bottom of the third inning, Vinny Pezzuolo plated a run to give Mohawk the lead. Pezzuolo led the Warriors with three RBIs.

"It was a great win for us. At the end of the day, we looked at it as getting our offense going," Pezzuolo said. "When we get our offense going, we're unstoppable because we're looking real good out there. Beaver's a good opponent, we know that with them being quad-A. We're hoping to go out to Central Valley tomorrow and see more of the same."

Said Maiorano of Pezzuolo, "There's a lot to be excited and impressed about when it comes to Vinny. Not just handling his business on the mound for us. That seems like that's all we talk about but the other side of it is that he's a really good hitter and position player."

Jackson Chapman supplied Mohawk another run in the bottom of the third to raise his team's lead to 3-1. In the fourth inning, Mohawk's Bobby Fadden relieved Crawford on the hill.

Fadden pitched three innings and gave up two hits and pitched one walk and two strikeouts.

"Bobby looked great, threw a ton of strikes, his off-speed pitches were working and were very effective and that's kind of what you're hoping," Maiorano said. "I thought this lineup was pretty good and our pitchers did a really good job of navigating certain hitters and putting them in tough situations to hit. Bobby's secondary pitches definitely showed up today."

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Mohawk's Jay Wrona connected with a pitch and sent it flying to center field just shy of a home run but brought two runners home in the process. After Wrona, Pezzuolo roped one out of the park to bring in two more runs.

"I didn't know (it was a home run) off the bat," Pezzuolo said. "I knew it had the height. I wasn't sure it had the distance but it did have it so I was happy for it."

Keigan Hopper plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth and his brother Mason Hopper finished things off in the sixth after bringing home Chapman.

Central Valley hosts Mohawk at 4 p.m. on Friday.