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EUCLID -- For the second straight year, backyard rivals Woodridge and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy made the long trip to Euclid to compete in a Division II baseball district semifinal game.
For the second straight year, it was a pitcher's duel -- and the Bulldogs fell short.
CVCA earned a tight 1-0 win over the Bulldogs May 15 at Paul Serra Field in Euclid.
Woodridge was eliminated by CVCA for the second straight season, after falling 2-0 in the district semifinal last year to the Royals.
Following that rough defeat, the Bulldogs came out flat May 16 vs. Cuyahoga Falls, as the two teams faced each other in the twice-delayed Cuyahoga Falls City Baseball Championship. The Bulldogs fell behind 6-0 early and could not rally, losing 6-3 at Water Works Park.
Woodridge didn't have to wait long to get another shot at CVCA, as the two teams played their game in the Cuyahoga Falls City Baseball Championship May 17. Woodridge lost 4-1.
The Bulldogs finished the season at 15-14.
In the district semifinal, both starting pitchers were in command.
CVCA starter Drew Wilson (4-2) pitched a complete game, scattering six hits and three walks. Wilson threw 10 strikeouts, which contributed to the Bulldogs leaving nine men on base.
CVCA coach Jason Herblet said Wilson is used to close contests.
"His run support hasn't been great this year," Herblet said. "His ERA is 0.78 and he was 3-2. I knew if we could get a couple runs home, he'd have a chance, but I didn't think it would be only one run. He battled."
Wilson needed to be sharp because Woodridge junior Zane Patterson (4-3) was just as good.
Patterson needed only 64 pitches to get a complete game, as he gave up one unearned run on three hits with one walk and two hit batsmen.
Woodridge's defense also turned three double plays in the game.
"He threw an absolute gem," Woodridge coach Dennis Dever said of Patterson. "He was able to locate his fastball and he threw his curveball for strikes. Those [double plays] were all web gems. Obviously, the pitcher's best friend is a double play."
The fourth inning proved to be critical.
In the top of the fourth, a single by designated hitter Brad Goodyear and a double off the fence by third baseman Jacob Lovelace put Bulldogs on second and third with one out.
Wilson responded, however, by striking out the next two Bulldogs to escape the jam.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, CVCA right fielder Chris Fair reached on a throwing error and Wilson was hit by a pitch. Shortstop Steve Taylor then hit an RBI single to right to drive in the game's only run.
The play of the game took place in the top of the sixth inning.
With one on and two out, Woodridge got a single from Lovelace and a walk from second baseman David Graham to load the bases.
Bulldog left fielder Brian Fay then hit a line drive to short left field, only to be robbed off a hit on a diving catch by CVCA left fielder Taylor Sobiech.
"Sometimes, you've just got to tip you hat," Dever said. "That catch saved at least the tying run from coming in."
Wilson set the Bulldogs down in order in the seventh inning to get the win.
Dever noted the Bulldogs' inability to hit with runners in scoring position hurt them.
"That's hurt us all year," Dever said. "We able to put it together last week, but we just couldn't get it done today."
Graham, shortstop Preston Clark, center fielder Jacob Margroff, catcher Kasey Kelleher and Isaac Hosford all will graduate this spring.
"It's going to be hard for us replace some of those seniors," Dever said. "We've got a very good group coming back next season."