Salem vs Chardon – A Pitcher’s Duel Emerges
June 3, 2021 by Alan Kornspan

On an unseasonably cool overcast day May 26, the Chardon Hilltoppers took on the Salem Quakers with an opportunity to win a district title.

For game photos click here.

On an unseasonably cool overcast day May 26, the Chardon Hilltoppers took on the Salem Quakers with an opportunity to win a district title.

As to be expected in such a game, both teams’ pitching was fantastic. Hundreds of Chardon and Salem fans witnessed a pitcher’s duel between Chardon junior Kyle Maronde and Salem senior Lane Rhodes, a Youngstown State University commit.

In a low scoring ball game at Louisville High Schools’ Andy Aljancic Field, Salem clinched the district title, 4-1.

The Quakers took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning by scoring two unearned runs.

In the first inning, it was tough,” Chardon Head Baseball Coach Brian Long said. “We get two outs, no one on; they get six straight base runners, obviously scored their two runs there. Kyle Maronde came in, got us out of the jam (and) threw four scoreless innings for us to give us an opportunity.”

Over the next three innings, neither pitcher allowed a run. In the top of the fifth, Chardon scored an unearned run to move within one of Salem, 2-1. But Salem scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to further its lead to the final score.

Both Salem’s Rhodes and Chardon’s Maronde kept opposing hitters off balance all game. Rhodes pitched seven innings, giving up no earned runs and three hits, striking out six. Maronde pitched five and one third innings, giving up no earned runs and three hits, striking out four. Neither pitcher walked a batter.

Certainly, the strike percentage of both pitchers demonstrated their excellent control. Maronde had a strike percentage of 77 percent, while Rhodes threw 68 percent of his pitches for strikes.

You get into the bullpen and everything feels on,” said Rhodes. “You know it’s just going to be a good day.

I think it was a really good day. I got in some trouble there in the fifth but, you know, the defense picked it up behind me when they needed to.”

Rhodes said his changeup was working well on left-handed hitters and his slider kept right-handed hitters off balance.

I was attacking with everything I had today — you know, both fastballs, curveball, slider, change,” he said.

Coach Long also praised Rhodes’ pitching performance.

Hats off to Rhodes,” said Long. “Threw a heck of a game. Held us to three hits, no walks. Anytime you get that off of a pitcher like that, it’s going to be a tough ball game.”

Coach Long also commented on Maronde’s stellar pitching performance.

The name of the game is pitchers-keep-hitters-off-balance, and Kyle does a great job at that,” said Long.

Maronde emphasized that as a pitcher, he focuses on control and trying to not allow many runners to reach base on walks.

Normally my main goal as pitcher is to just come up and throw strikes, and that’s what I did today,” he said. “I think it was just about mixing it up a lot. I don’t really throw a lot of fastballs; I throw a lot of off-speed. I think that’s what kept them on their toes the whole time.”

Salem improved the school’s all-time best baseball record to 26-3 and moves on to the regional semifinal game, where the team will take on Canfield June 3 at Glen Oak High School.