AVON — Avon Lake’s Kyle Kuhar didn’t want Wednesday’s game to be his last.
So the senior delivered a game-winning two-out RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to lead the Shoremen past Avon 2-1 in a Lorain Division I sectional final played at All Pro Freight Stadium.
“I just wanted to get a hit,” Kuhar said. “I’m so happy that ball dropped. I was a little worried he was going to catch it. With this probably being my last year of playing baseball, I’m just so happy that we can keep advancing and keep going, and hopefully we can make it as far as last year or maybe even farther. I’m very pumped.”
Jeremiah Campo scored the game-winning run on Kuhar’s hit to right field after he drew a one-out walk. Brad Hamilton lifted a deep flyball to left field for the second out before Kuhar came up with the clutch hit with two outs.
Campo started and pitched six innings and kept the Shoremen in the game, including getting himself out of a jam in the first and second inning. He loaded the bases with no outs in the second before escaping with no damage, thanks to a strikeout, a popup and a fielder’s choice.
“It was up there with one of my best outings,” Campo said. “My confidence allowed me to be successful. I didn’t want to go out there thinking I was going to do bad so I just wanted to come out with confidence. My curveball was feeling good today. I love beating Avon.”
Campo was pulled in the sixth after throwing 112 pitches. Logan DeLong came in and retired all six batters he faced. He picked up the win to improve to 6-1.
Avon’s starting pitcher Scott Barnum (4-2) was equally as good. He went all eight innings, allowing six hits, three walks, while striking out four.
“It was two pitchers dealing,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Marlow said. “Our guy was a little rocky to start, but he was able to dance his way out of it, which is what the good and the great pitchers do.
“Logan (DeLong) came in and threw nothing but strikes. We’re very blessed to have those two with us.”
Avon Lake grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the third inning on a blast to left field by Brad Hamilton. The ball bounced in front of the warning track for a double that brought in Campo, who drew a walk.
Avon came back to tie it at one in the bottom of the fourth inning on back-to-back doubles by Brian Baker and Jonny Morales.
Avon (15-9) left nine guys stranded on base, including the second inning when they had the bases loaded with no outs.
“Obviously, it was not the way we expected things to go,” Avon coach Frank DeSmit said. “We’ve been hitting quite a bit, but (Avon Lake’s) pitchers did a good job of keeping us from getting any runs across.
“We had our opportunities early, but a couple of base-running mistakes and that’s the way it goes sometimes in baseball. If you don’t get a pitcher early when he’s struggling a little bit, you give him a chance to settle in. Their guy did and they did just enough to keep us from scoring the rest of the way.”
With the win, the Shoremen (16-8) advance to the district semifinal Monday at The Pipe Yard. They’ll play the winner of Elyria-Lakewood, which was postponed Wednesday.
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.