Green Team Wins Storm Fall League World Series

PAINESVILLE, OHIO -- The Lake Erie College Baseball team concluded its fall season on Oct. 11 with the annual "Storm Fall League" (SFL) World Series.  The Green team won its first SFL title- and laid claim to the SFL Cup- with a 6-2 victory over the Black team at Kiwanis Recreation Park. 

The team competes in a 12-game intrasquad schedule throughout the fall in which the roster is split into three different teams: Gray, Black and Green.  The players are drafted by one another and put on their prospective teams for the entire fall, with games on Fridays and Sundays.

The champion Green team relied on its pitching and defense throughout the fall.  In 51 innings, the squad struck out 41 and surrendered just 17 walks.  In the finale, sophomore Mike Backes (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) and freshmen Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion), Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) and Tyler Minnich (LaGrange, Ohio/Keystone) shut down the Black team's offense while sophomores Matt Vanni (Willowick, Ohio/Cleveland Benedictine), Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and Jason Fisher (Bloomfield Hills, Ohio/Birmingham Groves) provided the offensive support. 

Vanni had a pair of hits, including a solo home run, and drove in two in the final.  Leeway had an RBI double and scored twice while Fisher also blasted a home run on the day. 

The Black team advanced to the finals with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the defending champion Gray team.  Sophomore Ryan Rua's (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) home run on the game's first pitch but the Gray ahead early, but freshmen Patrick Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) powered the Black comeback with a double and homer, respectively.  Kilway and Blood were among six different Black team players who hit over .300 during the fall, joining sophomores Ray Deckman (Louisville, Ohio/East Canton), Mike Morgan (Indian Lake, Ohio/Russells Point), and Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) and freshman Justin Rebhun (Rensselaer, N.Y./Columbia).  On the mound, Patrick Mulligan (Brookfield, Ohio./Brookfield) earned three wins. 

Despite a disappointing end, the Gray team's fall season had several bright spots. Rua and sophomores Josh Crout (Hamilton, Ohio/Edgewood) and Dave Schafer (Hermitage, Pa./Hickory) all hit well over .300.  Freshman Zach Mossbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) scored 11 runs and Mike Brucchieri (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) also hit over .300. Freshman Tim Birch (Madison, Ohio/Madison) pitched well, including a strong start in the playoff loss.      

At the conclusion of the SFL World Series, Head Coach Brian McGee and the coaching staff announced several individual award winners for the fall season.  The individual awards were as follows:  

CY YOUNG:  Soph. RHP Cameron Castro (Lorain, Ohio/Lorain Southview) - finished with three saves and a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings pitched.  Castro recorded eight strikeouts while only waling three.  Castro was solid in all his outings and was used in the back end of nearly every game.

ROOKIE PITCHER OF THE YEAR:  Fr. LHP Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) - pitched in nine innings, striking out nine and walking just one.  Finished with two wins and a 3.00 ERA.  Fox was not only productive with his pitches but picked off many of the few hitters who did manage to reach base against him. 

MVP:  Soph. SS/RHP Ryan Rua (Amherset,Ohio/Amherst) - was even more impressive than his freshman year when posted a .320 average with 11 home runs this past spring.  Rua finished the fall leading the SFL in multiple offensive categories, including average (.500), hits (16), runs (12), RBI (15), home runs (6), stolen bases (4), and posted a 1.50 ERA along with two saves on the mound. 

ROOKIE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Fr. C/OF Patrick Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge)- didn't act like a freshman exposed to his first taste of college-level ball, posting a .400 batting average with12 hits, a pair of homers, five doubles, seven runs.  He drove in 11 runs and his five doubles lead the league.

The Storm's spring season begins on Saturday, Feb. 20, with a doubleheader at Virginia State.