Steelheads advance to Midwest Challenge final; play suspended

July 20, 2020

AUSTINTOWN, OH – In just a few short years, the Erie Steelheads have established themselves as a premier travel baseball program.

They were at it again at the Summer Sizzler Midwest Challenge in Ohio this weekend, advancing to the title game against CFB, where they led 11-7 before play was suspended in the fourth inning on Sunday night due to a combination of weather and darkness.

Warren grad and Mercyhurst signee Ryan Rafalski had another stellar weekend for the 17U Latona squad. He was 1-for-2 with a 2-run single in the title game, this coming on the heels of hitting a 2-run double in a 14-0 whitewashing of the Pittsburgh Spikes in the semifinals.

In his last two starts on the mound, Rafalski has allowed just two hits in 11 innings. In a 13-2 win on Thursday, he went five strong with eight strikeouts and also homered for the second consecutive weekend.

WAHS rising senior Ben Berdine also heated up at the plate in Ohio. After a 4-for-4 effort earlier in the week, he was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored against the Spikes, a game in which Harbor Creek rising junior Cam Williamson homered. Fellow Huskie, rising senior Cody Smith, was 3-for-3 with three RBI in the semifinal win.

The Steelies began Sunday with a 9-6 win over West Force Ohio, with another 3-for-3 performance from Smith.

That was followed by the win over the Spikes that got them to the finals. Berdine scored a pair of runs in the title game, while Cody’s brother, Casey Smith, was 2-for-2 with a double and Cathedral Prep’s Jackson Mattocks also connected on a 2-run double.


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