ELYRIA — With a lot of games scheduled this week, Elyria Catholic coach Bruce Lisicky was looking for a big game out of his No. 2 pitcher, Joey Begany, in Tuesday’s West Shore Conference game against Vermilion.
What Lisicky got was a 7-0 win and a performance worthy of a No. 1 starter.
Begany, a junior, allowed just four hits and struck out 13. After a shaky first inning in which five batters came to the plate, Begany settled down and retired 12 of the next 13.
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“I was a little concerned in that first inning,” Lisicky said. “He was over 20 pitches and I’m thinking we’re going to have to go to the bullpen in the fourth of fifth inning at this rate. But Joey came out strong in the second inning and had great command of his pitches.
“He really kept Vermilion off balance from that point on.”
After the first inning, Begany struck out five straight and six of seven. The only Vermilion batter to reach base during that span was Mitch Peterson, who reached on an error. Through five innings, Begany allowed just one hit and only three runners to reach base.
“Without a doubt this was my best game this year,” said Begany, who improved to 3-2. “My two-seam was really breaking outside when it looked like it was going down the middle. So I got them swinging a lot on that. I was able to control my fastball, and my curveball found its way over the plate.
“I had command of my pitches tonight and took advantage of it.”
Elyria Catholic (10-10, 4-6 WSC) got to Vermilion starter Garrett Koutsopoulos in the second and fifth innings.
After a pair of singles to open the second inning, Christian Stanziano moved the runners to second and third with a one-out sacrifice bunt. Noah Brand then drove in Ian Kovacs to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, Angelo Cruz led off the inning with a single and came home on a double by Begany, and Dan Whitacre brought Begany home with a double to right-center to make it 3-0.
Kovacs followed with a single to put runners on first and third. Koutsopoulos retired the next batter but EC came right back as Stanziano ripped a two-out single to bring in Whitacre for a 4-0 lead. A balk scored Kovacs and RBI singles by Chris Tomshack and Cruz ran the lead to 7-0.
“The fifth inning took a lot of pressure off me,” Begany said. “We’ve struggled a bit at the plate but we were able to go through the order and put a lot of runs on the board. This was a good win for us and hopefully we can build some momentum going into the tournament.”
The loss dropped Vermilion to 12-11, 5-6 in the league.
“Begany pitched a really good game for them,” Vermilion coach Jeff Keck said. “For a few innings, Garrett pitched decent and it looked like it might be a pitchers duel. But the game got away from us.
“We have a couple of games coming up and hopefully we can bounce back from this.”
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.