April 24, 2014

Elyria
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Sectional baseball: Avon Lake goes down to Westlake

AVON LAKE — Westlake has had one of those up-and-down seasons. Fortunately for the Demons, Thursday was one of those up days as they defeated Avon Lake 7-1 to win the Division I sectional title.

For the Shoremen, they got down and could never get back up.

“Everything they hit, and they hit the ball hard, was a hit and everything we hit was right at them,” Avon Lake coach Jeff Straton said. “They made the plays. Their kid threw strikes and didn’t walk anybody except in the last inning.

“We needed to get runners on base so we could run and do the things we do, but we didn’t have the opportunity. When we did get guys on base, we were too far down to make things happen. They deserve all the credit. They played well and they’re peaking at the right time.”

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Timely hitting, solid defense and a strong pitching performance by Jonathan Brick propelled the Demons (11-11) into a district matchup with Strongsville.

Even a 45-minute rain delay in the top of the sixth inning couldn’t cool off the Demons, as they scored three runs after the game was resumed.

Avon Lake starter Nick Brady (3-3) surrendered a run in the second inning, but worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam to keep the damage to a minimum. He and Brick battled until the Demons struck for three runs in the top of the fifth.

Danny Strodtbeck led off the inning with a double down the left-field line. Andrew Dunn followed with a base hit up the middle to score Strodtbeck. Corey Bowers singled, and Jason Labroo doubled to center to score Dunn and Bowers.

Brick (4-1) is considered the No. 2 in the rotation, but his performance looked like that of an ace. That position is held by Kevin Neumann. Both are sophomores with bright futures.

“My fastball was working really well today,” Brick said. “Especially in the first five innings I was able to spot it really well, and getting ahead is what really counts when you pitch.”

Conner Delong put the Shoremen on the board with a towering drive over the left-center-field fence. Delong took advantage of a change-up left out over the plate.

“Although we are 11-11 and 4-8 in the conference, we are getting hot at the right time,” Westlake coach Jeff Short said. “We had a strong pitching performance yesterday from Kevin Neumann against Amherst and then another one today. It feels good and I’m happy for the kids.

“Jason Labroo, one of our seniors, has had two good games in a row. He’s really stepping up. Stephen James had the big hit again today.”

Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.