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Catching a break: Amherst Comets overcome four errors in win over Westlake Demons
Morning Journal/Jim Bobel Amherst's Conner Morris pulls in a long fly ball in the first inning against Westlake
Morning Journal/Jim Bobel Amherst's Kody Bledsoe pulls in a ground ball in the second inning against Westlake
Morning Journal/Jim Bobel Amherst's Griffin Weir pitches in the third inning against Westlake
Morning Journal/Jim Bobel Westlake's Matt Leonard, right, scores on a wild pitch thrown by Amherst's Griffin Weir in the first inning
Amherst pulled off one of those “not so pretty” wins on Friday afternoon, beating Westlake 10-5 on the strength of an eight-run sixth inning where the Comets drew six walks, including three hit batters.
“Well, this one was pretty ugly, but we’ll definitely take it,” Amherst coach Matt Rositano said. “We didn’t play perfect baseball today, but we found a way to win. I’m happy about that.”
Despite the five-run win, Amherst played from behind nearly the entire game.
After leaving the bases loaded in the top half of the inning, the Comets gave up an unearned run on a wild pitch from starter Griffin Weir to fall behind 1-0.
Westlake added two more in the third, again capitalizing on another wild pitch from Weir for the second run of the inning and a 3-0 lead.
“I thought my guys did a very good job of being aggressive on the base paths today,” Westlake coach Brenden Zepp said. “It was something we talked about before the game, so it was encouraging to see it play out early on.”
The Comets finally got on the board in the fifth, but despite scoring two runs, it felt like they could have gotten a lot more.
Westlake starter Thomas Keaney starting the inning off with three straight walks before being pulled.
Kent Axcell replaced Keaney and quickly walked the first two batters he faced, plating two runs without the Comets putting the ball in play.
Axcell settled down following those two walks, however, retiring the next three batters and leaving the Comets with three stranded base runners and a missed opportunity.
“We didn’t take advantage of some good opportunities early in the game,” Rositano said. “Fortunately we were able to make up for it in the sixth and really make them pay for the walks.”
In that sixth inning, trailing 5-2, Amherst once again quickly loaded the bases thanks to Westlake miscues. An error by shortstop Matt Leonard starting things off, then three straight walks, including two hit batters, set the stage for Weir to help his own cause.
Down 5-3 with the bases loaded, Weir battled for 10 pitches before ripping a two-run single to left field that tied the game.
The big hit opened things up for the Comets, who nearly batted through the lineup twice in the inning.
Kody Bledsoe and Corey Stamco both came through with RBI singles for Amherst during the rally.
Three runs also came in off of bases loaded walks, and when the smoke cleared the Comets had scored eight runs to stun the Demons and take a 10-5 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“Once we started to take advantage of all the walks, you could sense a complete momentum shift,” Weir said. “I like being in those situations and coming through with big hits, and it is a good feeling to trust all my teammates to do the same.”
The 10 runs proved to be more than enough for Weir, who gave up just one earned run in six strong innings to pick up the win. Westlake ended up walking a combined 15 batters, something coach Zepp knows is clearly unacceptable.
“That something you just can’t do, especially against a team like Amherst,” Zepp said. “They’re going to take advantage eventually. We’ve been pretty good with throwing strikes most of the season, so hopefully this was just one of those days.”
The win improves the Comets to 13-3 and 8-1 in the always tough Southwestern Conference. Westlake falls to 8-6 and 3-5.
Amherst 10, Westlake 5
Amherst (13-3, 8-1) 000 028 0 — 10 5 4
Westlake (8-6, 3-5 ) 102 020 0 — 5 4 4
WP — Griffin Weir (3-1); LP — Kent Axcell (1-1).
Last Updated: 4/27/2013 12:28:15 PM EST