Riverview’s Enzo Lio throws shutout in Raiders’ bounceback win vs. Ligonier Valley

Monday, April 24, 2023 | 9:37 PM

The Riverview baseball team ended a string of 13 scoreless innings, sending nine batters to the plate during a four-run fourth that sparked a 7-0 victory Monday at Ligonier Valley.

Raiders left-hander Enzo Lio limited the Rams to two hits and one walk while striking out 11 as Riverview (7-3, 6-1) kept pace with Serra Catholic atop the WPIAL Section 3-2A standings.

“Enzo is my bulldog,” Riverview coach Bill Gras said. “With him, it’s, ‘Give me the ball, coach. I want to go.’ He’s the bulldog of our staff.”

The teams are scheduled to play again Tuesday at Riverview, with the Raiders’ Ben Hower opposing Ligonier Valley’s Haden Sierocky on the mound.

“Sierocky is our guy,” Ligonier Valley coach Jason Bush said of his ace left-hander. “We discussed whether to throw him (Monday or Tuesday).”

On Monday, Bush elected to start Tyler Smith, who breezed through the first three innings before Riverview scored four runs — two earned — in the fourth and two more unearned runs in the fifth.

Smith struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings but was victimized by some sloppy fielding as Ligonier Valley (8-5, 5-4) committed four errors.

“I told Tyler I have no qualms with what he did,” Bush said. “Quite a few of those runs were unearned. Most of the errors we made were relatively routine. It was a poor effort. We have to make those plays.”

Eli DeVita’s two-run double, an RBI double by Cam Shane and Daniel Roupas’ RBI squeeze bunt single gave Riverview its 4-0 lead.

The Raiders, taking advantage of two Ligonier Valley errors, scored twice in the fifth to take a 6-0 lead on Tyler Aftanas’ two-run single, their only hit of the inning.

The four-run lead that expanded to six runs in the fifth was more than Lio needed.

“I get excited when we score in bunches like that,” he said. “I feel loose on the mound.”

Lio insisted it didn’t change his approach.

“They are a good-hitting team,” he said of Ligonier Valley. “I was throwing a lot of sliders today — more than usual, because they adapted to my curveball early.”

Lio struck out the side in the first and accumulated seven strikeouts through three innings with the game still scoreless.

“In the first inning, I was striking them out with fastballs,” he said. “Usually if I get to 0-2, I go high heat. This team seemed like they were sitting fastball, so I went to the slider and that was working for a while. Then, they adapted to that, so I went back to the curveball.”

Bush praised Lio’s outing, saying the hard-throwing senior overwhelmed the Rams at times.

“He was throwing multiple pitches for strikes, which is a great recipe for him,” Bush said. “He did a good job. He kept us off balance. We hit a couple of balls hard and most everything we hit hard was right at them.”

For Riverview, scoring seven runs and recording eight hits was a relief. The Raiders were coming off five-inning losses of 12-0 to Serra Catholic and 10-0 to Shady Side Academy, and before that, they had to squeeze out a 2-1 victory over Serra Catholic, scoring both runs in the bottom of the sixth to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Against Ligonier Valley, it looked like more of the same anemic offense for the Raiders until the big four-run fourth.

“It was 0-0 for three innings,” Gras said. “We usually don’t hit the ball a ton. That first three innings is what we’ve been doing lately. This is a good sign. Hopefully, it will carry over.”

Riverview scored its final run in the sixth on three walks and an error to take a 7-0 lead.

Luke Migely was 2 for 3 for Riverview. Duncan Foust doubled for Ligonier Valley, which managed just three baserunners against Lio.

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