AMHERST — Avon Lake hung on to beat Amherst, and that was about all one could have said about Wednesday’s Southwestern Conference game.
It was maybe the only positive thing one could say about the 10-9 decision. The game included 14 errors, 20 bases on balls and 11 unearned runs on a frigid afternoon that turned into a frigid early evening.
Perhaps one could mention that the Shoremen won at Amherst, something an Avon Lake team hadn’t done in such a long time no one available after the game could remember the last time it happened.
“We won a game at Amherst and we’ll take that as a gift from the baseball gods,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Marlow said. “It’s not easy to win here. Luckily, we got it today.”
Avon Lake (3-3, 2-1 SWC) almost didn’t get it. The Shoremen were ahead 10-3 after 4½ innings and led 10-6 with half an inning to play. Amherst (5-4, 2-1) came up with three unearned runs with two out in the bottom of the seventh before David Winkle ran down Corey Stamco’s long fly ball to center field to finally end it.
“We’ll try to stay positive,” Marlow said. “We had issues in the field again. That has been a recurring problem this year. I was telling a few jokes during our meeting on the mound in the seventh. I was just trying to keep them all loose out there.”
On a couple of personal notes, a couple of Avon Lake players had breakthroughs. Sophomore pitcher Logan Montague pitched the final 4 2/3 innings in relief of Matt Morissette. Montague allowed only two earned runs and two walks while striking out six in his first varsity appearance.
“Matt is usually getting his curveball over,” Marlow said. “He didn’t have a feel for it today, so we went to Logan because we knew he threw strikes, It was a good thing we did.”
“It was fantastic,” Montague said. “You’re a little nervous at first, but after the first batter you get focused and just try to block everything out.”
And how difficult was it to block out the seventh inning, when two errors opened the door for the Comets to nearly snatch away the victory?
“I had to keep pounding the strike zone,” Montague said. “Don’t worry about what’s happening behind you, things you can’t control. Just go get the next (batter).”
Cole Rosmarin, a junior in his first varsity season, hit his first home run with the big club. Rosmarin belted Shawn Reid’s 2-1 pitch over the left-field fence with one on in the first inning to give the Shoremen a 2-0 lead. Winkle got on via a walk on four pitches to begin the game.
“I knew (Reid) wanted to throw a strike, so I was looking for a fastball down the middle,” Rosmarin said. “I wasn’t thinking about a home run. I only wanted to put it in play.”
Reid lasted two innings after allowing seven runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks. Amherst had five of its six errors in the first two innings. The Comets also used Ryan Lamb, Jake Waryu and Justin Mott on the mound. They combined to walk 12 batters.
“Our pitchers have to find the strike zone,” Amherst coach Al McConihe said. “Today was very uncharacteristic of our team. We were very sloppy today.
“I’m pleased with the way they kept fighting back,” McConihe added. “No lead is safe here and our kids know that. I’m sure Avon Lake was thinking about that. All the teams in the conference know this is a hitter’s place to play.”
Avon Lake scored three unearned runs in the second and an unearned run in the third. The Shoremen added two in the fifth inning on runs batted in by Brad Hamilton and Matt Russell.
Amherst, in spite of having scored three runs, did not get a hit until Mott beat out a ground ball down the third base line to start the fifth inning. Zach Bires and Maximo Meggitt drove in runs for the Comets in the fifth and Stamco’s hit scored Reid in the sixth to make the score 10-6.
Connor Morris reached on an error to begin Amherst’s seventh. Two outs later a double by Reid scored a run and a double by Bledsoe sent Reid home. A throwing error on a ground ball by Mott let Bledsoe score the last run of the day before Stamco flied out on an 0-2 pitch.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.