By Gary R. Rasberry
LIMA -- Grand Lake skipper Mike Stafford's hope that Tuesday's sluggish play would be just a one-night offering seemed to come true on Wednesday.
The Mariners pounded out 15 hits and Aaron Tennyson along with two relievers froze what was a hot Lima offense in the Mariners' 7-1 win over their perennial rival at Shawnee High School.
The win evens the Mariners' Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League record to 6-6 as the Locos snap a four-game winning streak and fall to 6-3.
Tennyson, the lanky left-hander from the University of Kentucky, shut down a Lima offense that put up 13 runs in each of its last two games and has scored 41 over the last four games. Tennyson was not overpowering, striking out five, but used great control and a perfect mix of fastballs and curveballs to get groundball outs as 11 of the 21 outs Tennyson recorded were groundouts.
"I just kept the ball down and hit my spots," said Tennyson. "Defense made great plays at important times. Something I've been working on is my curve. I thought I had pretty good control and was able to use it well today." "What Aaron does is make them earn everything they get," said Stafford. "He threw strikes, got them to put the ball into play and made our defense field the ball. Jon Hatfield (six assists at shortstop) and the rest of the infielders made the plays."
While the Mariners' mound men kept the Locos in check, the offense of Grand Lake broke out. Six players got hits in the game for the Mariners with all six getting at least two hits.
"Everybody up and down the line was ready to hit tonight," said Stafford. "We got a lot of two-out hits (five) and a lot of hits with runners in scoring position. We played the game how it's supposed to be played. I had a little talk with the guys after the game yesterday (a 7-2 non-league loss to Portland). I just told them to come out and play. If they go out and play hard, that's all I can ask of them. Tonight we played well early and never looked back."
The bottom part of the order did the early damage. St. Henry graduate Kris Moorman, who last season had been potent when playing the Locos, hit singles in his first three at-bats and was 3-of-5 overall, scoring the tying run in the fourth off Locos starter Michael Mulholland. Jeff Warnock held the spot below Moorman in the order and went 3-for-5 as well and hitting a double off Mulholland to score Moorman and later scored the game-winner off a Billy Grace single.
"I don't know if it's something about playing here," said Moorman, who helped eliminate Lima from the league tournament last year. "This is our number-one rivalry. It's kind of like Ohio State-Michigan for me. Against these guys, it's a little more serious. You always want to win against them."
The Mariners added a run in the sixth off reliever Drew Garner. In the eighth, Grand Lake broke the gates open with a three-run inning. Grace led things off with a triple to deep rightfield and after Aaron Bulkley walked, Andy Hudak doubled both runners home to make it 6-1. After a wild pitch, John Franzese loft a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to bring the seventh run home.
Meanwhile, Tennyson got the word that his night was done, not that he thought about asking for another inning.
"I was debating it," said Tennyson. "In summer ball they try to keep your pitch count down. I wanted to go back in, but after we scored those runs (in the top of the eighth), he took me out."
"I love to keep a guy out there if he's pitching well, but I have to think of his future," said Stafford on his decision to bring in Tennyson. "He was at a point where the Yankees came to look at him. They got what they needed to see. After we scored three runs (in the top of the eighth). I told him he was done and got some of the guys in the bullpen some work."
Andy Delagarza came on in the bottom of the eighth and John Prejsnar finished the game and both allowed two hits in their respective innings, but both came away unscathed, not allowing any runs.
Also having big nights for the Mariners was Aaron Bulkley, who went 2-for-4 with four stolen bases, raising his season total to nine. Phil Disher and Grace each added two hits.
Manley had two hits and drove in the lone run for Lima. Defiance native Marc Franz, the GLSCL Player of the Week after batting .500 last week, went 0-for-4.
Grand Lake stays on the road tonight as the Mariners face the Columbus All-Americans at Bill Davis Stadium at The Ohio State University starting at 7 p.m. The Mariners return home on Friday for a 7:15 p.m. game against Delaware.