CUYAHAOGA FALLS — Since he took over the program last spring, Cuyahoga Falls baseball coach Scott Koenig has seen his team stuck in one rut.
Falls' pitching always seems to perform well enough to win, but the Black Tigers bats and gloves fail them.
That nightmare returned for Falls April 25 at Water Works Park, as the Black Tigers lost a 4-0 to North Royalton.
Falls' record dropped to 4-14, 1-9 in the Suburban League National Conference.
This time, the unlucky starting pitcher was Zak Allen (1-5).
Allen pitched well against a solid Bears lineup, but lasted just 3.67 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) off six hits, while striking out three batters.
Allen was undone by the top of the third inning, which saw the Black Tigers commit four errors.
A double by Bears right fielder Dom Carriera drove in a run, but Allen was able to limit the damage by striking out North Royalton's Zach Mueller and Ian Layhew to end the inning.
Koenig noted the Bears were able to get to Allen in the fourth inning because he had to throw so many pitches in the third.
A single from Bears' center fielder Jacob Willmann was followed by Carriera's second straight RBI double. Catcher Ryan O'Malley then hit an RBI single to make it 4-0.
Koenig then pulled Allen in favor of freshman Alex Valente. Valente got out the jam and pitched 1.33 innings of scoreless relief.
Jack Kramer also kept Falls in the game, as he pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
The problem was Falls' offense had no answers for North Royalton starting pitch Derek Ritterbusch. The Ohio Northern University recruit pitched a complete-game shutout, facing just one more batter than the minimum.
Ritterbusch limited Falls to just four hits in seven innings with eight strikes.
Falls will travel to North Royalton April 26 at 4:30 p.m.