VERMILION — Longtime Avon coach Ken Matuszak knows how hard it is to go into Vermilion and walk away with win. He must not have bothered to share that lesson with his young team.
Sophomore pitcher Anna Edwards struck out 11 Vermilion hitters and sophomore third baseman Ally Sumser drove in three runs as the Eagles defeated the Sailors 5-3 Monday in West Shore Conference play.
The Eagles (5-3) are on a five-game win streak and remain a perfect 4-0 in the WSC.
“We haven’t played well on this field but we are starting to build some momentum,” Matuszak said. “We are a young team and we made some mistakes early in the year, but I was really pleased that way we came out to play today against a well-coached, talented Vermilion team.”
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Avon wasted little time getting on the board scoring two runs in the first inning when Sumser drilled a line drive single past the outstretched glove of Vermilion third baseman Sarah Bartlome and down the left line to score to score Edwards and Maddie Luca. Sumser also drove in a run in her next at bat with a ground ball that scored Edwards, who led off the third inning with a double.
Vermilion (9-2, 4-2) struggled in the field, committing four errors behind starting pitcher Jessica Tucker. Tucker allowed three earned runs and recorded four strikeouts but failed to retire the Eagles in order in any inning.
“It’s hard to play catch up when you’re making errors and hanging them runs,” Vermilion coach Roger Wright said. “Avon has a pretty good pitcher and we just dug ourselves too deep of a hole with the mistakes we made. We did not come ready to play today with the focus and dedication needed to beat a quality opponent.”
Thanks to a pair of Avon errors, the Sailors tied the game at 3 in the third inning. That was when Edwards took over. She retired the 10 of the final 11 batters and kept Vermilion off the board for the rest of the game.
“I just tried to get ahead in the count and mix up my fastballs and changeups,” Edwards said. “When we got the runs in the first inning it really took some weight off my shoulders and helped me to focus on what I had to do. It’s nice to be able to win on the road. We are finally gelling as a team we just need to roll with it and keep it going.”
Avon got solid production from the bottom of its batting order with No. 7 hitter Rachael Poling scored the go ahead run in the fourth inning after getting hit by a Tucker pitch. She also reached base on a fifth inning walk. No. 9 hitter Kayla Wysocki scored the Eagles final run after leading off the sixth inning with a single, one of her two hits in the game.
“We put the ball in played when we needed to and we hustled on every ball to make things happen,” Wysocki said. “Today was a very important win for us. We know we are going to have to face Vermilion again this season, but next time we will get them at home.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.