April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Big inning carries Amherst past Avon, keeps Comets perfect through six games

AMHERST — You can’t be any better than six-for-six.

Amherst played its sixth game in seven days to open the season and the Comets stayed perfect, blowing open a tight game with a five-run sixth inning on the way to an 8-1 win over perennial county power Avon in a non-conference game Friday.

“We can’t ask for a better start,” first-year coach Matt Rositano said. “To play as well as we have early in the season is a testament to how hard these kids have worked in the offseason.”

Avon (2-3) struggled against Comets starter Noah Skladan (2-0), who walked four but only allowed a pair of hits and one run while striking out two.

“I got great run support again and the defense is playing great,” Skladan said.

Amherst got to Avon starter Austin Bevins (0-1) with three unearned runs in the third inning to take control of the game.

Alex Walts reached on an error and Garrett Mullins walked to start things off. Zack Bires dropped a sacrifice bunt down and leadoff hitter Kody Bledsoe loaded the bases with a walk.

The first run of the game came home when Corey Stamco was clipped on the sleeve on a 1-1 curve ball.

Connor Morris went down looking to bring Griffin Weir to the plate. It looked like Bevins might escape any more damage when Weir popped the ball up in foul territory between home and third.

However, three Eagles converged on the ball only to have it fall to the ground, giving Weir new life. He promptly singled up the middle to drive in a pair for a 3-0 lead.

“Every chance you get like that you want to cash it in,” Weir said. “You want to hit the ball hard and not 5 feet away and 20 feet in the air. That got our offense going and the momentum shifted.”

The Eagles hit the ball hard and had several baserunners through the first five innings, but the ball seemed to always end up at shortstop, where Bledsoe put on a defensive clinic.

Avon finally scored when Bradford Dill got Avon’s first hit — a single with two out in the sixth inning — to drive in Matt Wentz, who opened the inning with a walk.

Pinch hitter Andrew Lee singled to load the bases and knock Skladan out of the game.

Justin Mott moved from behind the plate to the mound and struck out Ian Long to end the only real scoring threat of the game for the Eagles.

“We’re in that rut where little things come back to hurt pretty big and that popup was one of them,” Eagles coach Frank Desmit said.

“Lorain County is going to take some shots at us the way we’ve played the past few years (going 47-6). It’s going to be interesting to see how we react. We’re going to have to learn to be a little better when facing adversity.”

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.