WESTLAKE — The Demons have had a tough time getting going offensively.
That wasn’t the case Friday when Westlake scored seven runs in the first three innings and staved off a Midview comeback to win 8-5 in non-conference play.
Ryan Nebraska led off with a single and scored on Kent Axcell’s deep shot to the right-field gap to give Westlake a 1-0 lead. Matt Duperow then provided a clutch two-out hit, blasting a two-run single to give the Demons a 3-0 lead.
“It was very important for me to get that hit early so that we can get out up front,” said Duperow, who went 2-for-3. “We wanted to jump on them early and get some runs and get ahead. I’m glad I was able to get that hit and help my team out. It was great to be out here on this beautiful day and play a great game.”
Westlake added two more runs in the second inning on a two-out, two-run single by Evan Davis.
“I just wanted to come through for my team and get the bat on the ball,” Davis said. “We needed to get some runs early. It was important. We’ve been working on hitting a lot lately. It felt great being out here. We’re starting to gain a lot of confidence.”
The Demons (5-4) tacked on two more runs to take a 7-0 lead when a fielder’s choice by Dylan Crocker scored Duperow, who led off the inning with a single. Crocker then scored on a groundout by Mike Fikter.
“Offensively, we’ve been struggling to score runs,” Westlake coach Brendan Zepp said.
“We wanted to get out early and get the bats going. We came out a little earlier and got some extra batting practice. It was nice to get a couple runs early on and keep adding on. It’s great to see the boys hitting the ball.”
Midview (3-3) came alive in the fourth inning, cutting the deficit to 7-4. Zack Nilges and Zac Wilson had two-run singles off starting pitcher Kal Patterson, who had allowed just two hits to that point.
Westlake made it 8-5 on pinch-hitter John Alfes’ line drive up the middle that scored J.P. Parfejewicz, who singled.
The Middies had a chance in the sixth inning, drawing four straight walks off relief pitcher Scott Leonard to make it 8-5 before Duperow came in and got Cody Callaway to ground to third for an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
“(Westlake) hit a lot of first-pitch strikes,” Midview coach Scott Jaloweic said. “They jumped on a lot of first-pitch fastballs and that put us in a little hole. We’ve been behind every game the first couple innings before we finally pick it up and start putting some good at-bats together and stringing some hits and scoring some runs.
“If we can only figure that out and be a little more aggressive the first couple innings and get some clutch hits (we’ll be OK). That seems to be our problem lately. We left a lot of guys on base. That makes the difference.”
Axcell came in to pick up the save, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.