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Purple Eagles rally past Rams

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion pitcher Connor Barleben struck out 15 to lead the Purple Eagles past visiting Roy-Hart this afternoon.

Rebounding from a first inning deficit, Albion battled back to defeat visiting Roy-Hart 8-3 this afternoon to maintain a hold on first place in the tight Niagara-Orleans League baseball title race.

Connor Barleben struck out 15 and allowed only four hits to lead the way for Albion which improves to 5-1.

“Connor threw well,” said Albion Coach Bruce Blanchard. “After the first inning he was very efficient and then our bats started coming alive.”

The loss drops Roy-Hart two games off the pace in the loss column at 6-3.

However, the Rams did get off to a quick start scoring three times in the first inning on an RBI single by CJ Fitch and a two run error.

Albion though battled back to knot the contest by scoring twice in the second inning on a single by Noah Preston and a sacrifice by Aaron Burnside, and once in the fourth on an RBI single by Burnside which followed a triple by Trey Hart. Barleben and Hart also both had hits to help key the second inning rally.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Aaron Burnside makes a diving catch at second base for Albion.

The Purple Eagles then grabbed the lead at 8-3 by erupting for five runs in the fifth inning as Dominic DiCureia, John Krieger, Steven Stauss, Barleben, Hart and Burnside all contributed hits.

Hart and Burnside both had three hits on the day. Defensively, Hart in center field and Burnside at second base also both made fine diving catches for outs.

“Getting Trey back in the lineup was huge for us,” said Blanchard. “He’s only played a couple of innings up until now due to an injury but he helps us with the bat and also defensively.”

Andy Xapsos had two hits for Roy-Hart which managed only a pair of scattered base raps after the first inning.

Barleben struck out the side in the second inning and then fanned two in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion shortstop JJ Downs waits for the throw as Roy-Hart’s Andy Jacobs tries to each second base for Roy-Hart.