by Steve Batko | Correspondent
The Streetsboro baseball team is making a serious play to be a contender in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
However, the Rockets have yet to win a non-league contest.
A pair of tough losses to Kent Roosevelt pushed the Rockets to 0-7 in non-division play this year, while the overall record was 4-8 and the County Division record was 4-1 at press time. The Rockets only trail favorite Woodridge (7-0).
The games against Kent came on a 4-1 loss April 23 to the visiting Rough Riders and a 10-0 loss at Kent April 22.
A devastating 15-14 loss April 21 to host Ravenna (8-5) stung Streetsboro, which has faced a strong non-league slate.
Scisciani isn't thrilled with the non-league losses, but it's no serious problem with him. He sees the games as learning lessons.
"We are playing very good teams and Kent came at us with good pitching," said Scisciani. "It's tough being 0-7 in non-league play, but we have beefed up our schedule this season.
"Theses teams that we are almost beating are quality teams. We beefed it up to prepare for tournament play."
Overall play was strong for Streetsboro in the 4-1 loss April 23. Kent's Joe Watts tossed a six-hit, complete-game victory.
Senior Gage Simpkins went the distance and threw an eight-hitter against the Rough Riders as he slipped to 1-2 this year.
In 21 innings of work, which includes three complete games this spring, Simpkins has only allowed one walk.
"Gage pitched so well in that losing effort," said Scisciani. "I felt bad for him. He has done a great job and his command has been good. It's unfortunate that he's only 1-2."
Sophomore Bobby Dixon had three singles for the Rockets. Kent was led by Jesse Rogers, who had two singles and a run batted in.
On April 22 at Kent, Streetsboro was upended 10-0. Junior Ricky Delambo took the loss and fell to 2-2 as Kent pounded out 15 hits to the Rockets' three.
Streetsboro played errorless ball, but Aaron Pinsoneault was too much on the hill for the Riders as he raised his record to 4-1 with a three-hit complete game.
"We played well in the 4-1 loss and did hit the ball hard, but right at people," said Scisciani. "Kent has good pitching. Watts was tremendous."
The wild loss to Ravenna saw the Ravens plate three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and ace pitcher Jerry Nightingale come in and get the save to secure the win.
Nightingale, who is 4-1 this year with a 1.65 earned-run average, earned his first save.
It was a slugfest as Ravenna had 12 hits and Streetsboro had 11 hits. The game also featured nine errors.
Junior Chase Galinsky was the losing pitcher, but he had a single, a double, and a run scored. Scisciani's staff allowed 12 walks to Ravenna.
Simpkins highlighted the game by belting a two-run home run to left field.
"Gage really hit that one well and as the kids say, it was a dinger," said Scisciani. "Simpkins has been swinging the bat well for us."
Senior third-baseman/left fielder Austin Ritts also has been producing on offense. Ritts, who injured his hamstring, had a single and a double.
"Austin tweaked his hamstring, but he is swinging a hot bat and we need him in the lineup," said Scisciani.
The Rockets were scheduled to visit County Division rival Waterloo April 30 in Atwater. Results were not available at press time.
They are set to host Waterloo April 30 and County Division foe James A. Garfield May 1. Both games are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Streetsboro is set to entertain Western Reserve Academy May 2 (7 p.m.) before heading to Canal Park in Akron to play Rittman May 3 (10 a.m.).
The Rockets are scheduled to host County Division rival Mogadore May 5 before heading to Mogadore May 6. Both contests are set to begin at 4:15 p.m.