After Brett Kiser’s complete-game shutout beat Amherst on Friday, Matt Morissette repeated the feat Saturday, scattering six hits in a 6-0 district final win over Midview at The Pipe Yard.
The district title is Avon Lake’s first since 2005 and just its second in the last 17 years. The Shoremen (17-10) will face St. Ignatius at Case Western Reserve University on Thursday at 5 p.m. in a regional semifinal. The Wildcats beat Avon Lake 9-1 earlier this season at Progressive Field.
Midview bowed out of the postseason with a 21-7 record.
“I’ve never thrown seven innings before, so I would have to say this was pretty close to my best game,” Morissette said.
“Our outfield was outstanding today. They caught everything out there. I felt confident every time (Midview) hit it. Pitching with the lead just makes everything easier and it makes you calm. I can play around with pitches and not force anything with the defense we have behind me.”
Just as in Friday’s game, Avon Lake wasted no time getting on the board. The Shoremen scored three times in the first inning off Midview starter Derrick Stephenson.
Jeremiah Campo reached on a one-out walk, Brad Hamilton singled and Kyle Kuhar singled to load the bases.
Morissette (4-1) then helped his own cause, driving in a pair with a rocket back through the middle. Matt Russell drove home the third run with a single to left-center. The inning ended when Tommy Reighard hit a hard ball that was turned into a double play.
“That first inning we were banging the ball all over the place and we were able to be aggressive and push three across,” Shoremen coach Kevin Marlow said. “A couple weeks ago we revisited what we needed to do at the plate and the kids have continued to put some good at-bats together.”
Avon Lake maintained offensive pressure in the second inning when Matt Gottshall started a one-out rally with a sharp single to left and center fielder David Winkel followed with a single over third base and Campo was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Hamilton broke his bat on a sacrifice fly to center that scored Gottshall for a 4-0 lead and Winkel scored on the back end of a double steal with Campo to make the score 5-0.
Kuhar drove home the final run with a single to left to drive Stephenson from the game. Ben Milam came in to get the last out of the inning and then stuck around to throw four more scoreless innings to keep the Middies within striking distance.
“They got a couple guys on and a couple balls found the hole, we just tried to stop the bleeding,” Middies coach Scott Jalowiec said. “I thought we had a shot after getting the double play, but they came back out and doubled it up at 6-0.”
On three occasions, Midview was able to put a pair of runners on base. Morissette stayed in control, however, getting the Middies to make 10 fly-ball outs, including six to center where Winkel made several running catches.
In the fourth inning, Morissette escaped when Eric Lauer was thrown out at third on a grounder to Gottshall. With two on in the fifth, Morissette got back-to-back fly balls to center.
In the final inning, Morissette gave up a two-out single to reliever Patrick Higley and a walk to Austin Steindl to give the Middies a glimmer of hope.
Marlow made a quick trip to the mound but sent the infielders away when they converged, deciding to talk to Morissette all alone. Morissette responded by striking out Ryan Smith on three pitches to clinch the win.
“Brett (Kiser) was fabulous yesterday and Matt came back and was just as fabulous today,” Marlow said. “What can you say? They’re throwing strikes, their off-speed stuff is dropping for strikes, and they’re just hot right now.”
Following the award presentation, Jalowiec praised the effort of his team, as well as the entire Midview community.
“We had a levy in February and we haven’t had a levy pass in 19 years,” he said. “Realistically, we shouldn’t even have been here. They were going to say no spring sports and we thank you for allowing us to accomplish our goals of winning the West Shore Conference, winning a school-record 21 games and a chance to go as far as only three other teams in school history. Without the voters, we would not be here today.”