Logan Metz pitched a complete game and North’s offense delivered clutch hits when needed to beat visiting Kenston on Thursday, 3-1.
With the win, the Rangers improved to 6-6 overall and 3-3 in the Western Reserve Conference.
“Kenston is a very solid and very fundamentally sound team and the middle of their order is very solid,” said North coach Joe Iveljic. “Logan did an awesome job mixing in his changeup and breaking pitches and his fastball, and we played sound, fundamental defense behind him as well.”
Metz allowed just one run on two hits and struck out eight.
“It felt good getting the win against a good team like Kenston,” Metz said. “It just felt good to throw my first complete game of the season. All my pitches were on today. I was just mixing up pitches and messing with the hitters’ timing and mixing up my timing.”
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and that allowed Metz to settle in and focus on throwing strikes without trying to overpitch.
“Scoring early helps calms my nerves,” he said. “It helps us play better as a team and calms everyone down knowing we have the lead.”
Devin Nix drew a leadoff walk and stole second. He moved to third on Matt Barner’s single and scored on Andrew Gunton’s two-out single.
That lead held until Kenston drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and scored on a double.
North regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Brody Spock drew a leadoff walk and Nix followed with a single. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch and Owen Hopper tied the game with a one-out sacrifice fly. Nix scored on a passed ball to give the Rangers the lead for good.
“We had a nice two-out RBI in the first inning and we had some guys on base moving around a little bit and were able to get a sacrifice fly and then Devin was able to score again,” Iveljic said of North manufacturing three runs. “Devin has speed on the base paths but his baserunning IQ is off the charts.”
Kenston hit a leadoff single in the seventh inning but the Rangers turned a double play and Metz coaxed the next batter to hit a fly ball to center field that ended the game.
“That’s what’s troubled Logan the first times out is he has had to go deep pitch-count wise,” Iveljic said. “Today, he was able to go pretty much the same pitch count but he went seven innings. He was efficient and we played defense behind him.”
Nix, Barner, Gunton, and Sean Register all had hits for North.
The Rangers travel to Kenston on Friday.