April 17, 2014

Elyria
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High school baseball: Watt powers Amherst past Firelands in season opener

AMHERST — Justin Watt couldn’t wait to get outdoors and play some ball for Amherst.

“We’ve been practicing but we haven’t really gotten outside a lot,” Watt said. “(Friday) was our first day outside. Yeah, I had a good game.”

Good? The junior catcher sparked the Comets to an opening-day 8-2 victory over Firelands by accounting for half of Amherst’s runs with a double and home run Saturday in Matt Rositano’s coaching debut. Not only did Watt do the damage offensively, he struck out the side to end the game.

“(Saturday) during batting practice, I was hitting pretty good,” Watt said. “The rest of the team was hitting pretty good, too. I don’t know, just felt like we could all hit. Our goal was to get the first one out of the way and get rolling.”

“Justin’s a baseball player,” Rositano said. “You could put Justin at any position on the field and he’d excel. He’s got a real good arm, we like him behind the plate and he had 36 RBIs last year. He picked up right where he left off. He’s a nice guy to have in the middle of your lineup.”

Griffin Weir started for Amherst on the mound and did well for it being his first time playing in the sunshine rather than indoors. He struck out six before running out of gas in the fourth inning.

“We wanted to give Grif an early start before conference,” Rositano said of his ace right-hander. “(Saturday) was the perfect day. He’s been throwing well inside. His brother (Connor) had the (pitching) gun on him and he was around 92 (mph) and you can overpower a lot of hitters like that.”

Weir not only pitched creditably, he drove in the first run of the year with a sharp single to left to score Alex Walts in the first inning. Amherst had eight hits on the day — two each from Walts and Mott. Walts opened the game with a slow roller to third for the first hit.

“We had not been on our infield yet,” Firelands coach Ted Busch said. “You could tell in the early innings when we had to make that long throw from third base the first time during a game. It can be a little nerve-wracking for that kid, too, but I thought we improved as the game went on. The more time we get outside, the better we’ll get.”

The same could be said for the Falcons’ four-year letterman Joe SanFelippo, who started his first game on the mound and threw better the longer he pitched. After giving up three runs in both the first and third innings, SanFelippo retired six of the next eight hitters and struck out four.

“The first three years (on the varsity) he pitched a total of maybe six innings,” Busch said. “But we lost a lot of guys last year (to graduation) so he’s taking the ball and he’s got to step up. As the game went on, he got better.

“(Amherst) is the defending (Southwestern Conference) champions and they have a lot of veterans on that team. Amherst is a nice ballclub.”

Jacob Abrahamowicz’s double and Frank Johnson’s bloop single over the shortstop’s head in the second inning were the only hits for Firelands.

For Rositano, it was sweet to get his first career victory.

“Better than 0-1,” he said. “I’m excited for the year. It’s nice to get this first one out of the way. We’re scheduled to play every day next week — weather permitting. Northeast Ohio … we’ll see what happens.”

Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or at timothygeb@msn.com.

Amherst 8, Firelands 2

Firelands    Amherst
ab    r    h    bi        ab    r    h    bi
Sklarek    3    0    0    0    Walts    3    1    2    1
Baumann    3    0    0    0    Stamco    4    0    1    1
SanFelippo    4    1    0    0    Morris    1    1    0    1
Abr’mwicz    3    1    1    0    Weir    4    1    1    1
Johnson    3    0    1    0    Chesmar    1    2    1    0
Rollins    0    0    0    0    Mott    4    1    2    4
Sigsworth    2    0    0    0    Bledsoe    3    1    1    0
Miller    1    0    0    0    Board    0    0    0    0
Clark    1    0    0    0    Bires    4    1    0    0
Schramm    2    0    0    0    Soto    2    0    0    0
Lawson    2    0    0    1    Mullins    1    0    0    0
Totals    24    2    2    1    Totals    26    8    8    8

Firelands    000    011    0    —    2    2    1
Amherst    303    002    X    —    8    8    1

LOB — Firelands 6, Amherst 9. 2B — Abrahamowicz, Mott, Walts. HR — Mott. SB — Mott. E — Rollins, Morris. DP — Firelands.

IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO
Firelands
SanFelippo (L,0-1)    5    7    6    6    4    5
Sklarek    2    1    2    2    1    0
Amherst
Weir    3.2    2    2    1    3    6
Chesmar (W,1-0)    1.1    0    0    0    2    3
Derricotte    1    0    0    0    0    0
Mott    1    0    0    0    0    3

HBP — Schramm (by Weir), Morris (by SanFelippo), Bledsoe (by Sklarek). WP — Weir 2. PB — Clark.