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Eagles soaring high: Avon avenges earlier season loss to Vermilion Sailors
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon's Brandon Linna gets tagged out by Vermilion first baseman Mitch Peterson in the first inning.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon's Matt Wentz, right, puts the tag on Vermilion's Caleb Waller on Wednesday in Vermilion. The Eagles won 4-2.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon's Matt Wentz reacts to being hit by a pitch in the second inning.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Vermilion's Kyle Nader dives but cannot reach a ground ball in the third inning against Avon yesterday.
Starting pitcher Ian Long (3-0) pitched six strong innings for the Eagles (13-11, 9-4), striking out four and giving up one hit and an unearned run in the third inning. Vermilion (12-12, 5-6) worked the count throughout the game, however, and in the bottom of the seventh, they forced Long into trouble.
Sitting on a 4-1 cushion, Long gave up a leadoff single to Josh Buchanan to begin the inning. Alec Adams followed with a single to center and Buchanan moved to third when the ball rolled past center fielder Bradford Dill. Long plunked Nate Buchanan the next at-bat to load the bases with no one out.
“I was feeling it the first six, but Vermilion is a good team and they battled the whole game,” Long said. “I couldn’t locate my pitches (in the seventh) and that’s what I needed to do to complete the game.”
Long gave way to reliever Scott Barnum who forced Sailors’ freshman starter Caleb Waller into a fielder’s choice that brought home Josh Buchanan but resulted in Adams being forced out at third.
Next to the plate was Mitch Peterson, who flied out to shallow left field, keeping the runners on their bases with two out. Barnum walked Justin Albrethsen to load the bases again but coaxed Vinny Ragnoni into a fielder’s choice to give the Eagles the 4-2 win.
“(Ian) did a nice job of controlling the game early on,” Avon coach Frank Desmit said. “We were able to get enough runs to give him an early lead there. We’ve just got to keep the tying runs off base in the last inning. Fortunately, Scotty came in and did a nice job.”
Long’s run support began in the top of the second. Donny Kelly started the frame with a single past Kyle Nader at short before Long was issued a walk by his counterpart. Kelly stole third during the next at-bat, setting up Austin Bevins’ sacrifice fly out to left field.
The Eagles got to Waller again the following inning. After inducing a pop-up to center, Waller hit Matt Wentz, who made his way to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Shaun Traine brought Wentz home two pitches later with a chopper up the middle to bring the tally to 2-0.
Vermilion countered in the bottom half of the inning, when Waller reached on a throwing error and came home the next at-bat on a double to deep left-center off the bat of Peterson, making the score 2-1.
“Our kids battled all day and I’m really proud of them for that,” Vermilion coach Jeff Keck said. “It was just too bad we couldn’t come up with a big hit and get a few runs in there (in the seventh).”
Avon added their final two runs in the top of the fifth, a frame that began with Waller plunking Andrew Lee. He stole second and was plated by a double by Wentz that sailed over the head of left fielder Josh Buchanan.
Wentz then scored when second baseman Nate Buchanan and right fielder Brad Wind nearly collided, allowing the ball to fall just outside the infield. Wentz went 2-for-3 on the day with an RBI.
Waller (3-3) went six innings for Vermilion, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in the loss.
“We just have to keep playing hard,” Keck said. “Caleb Waller pitched a nice game, we just have to do a better job of getting in position to score runs more often before the seventh inning.”
Avon 4, Vermilion 2
West Shore Conference
Avon (13-11, 9-4) 011 020 0 — 4 8 2
Vermilion (12-12, 5-6) 001 000 1 — 1 3 1
TWO HITS OR MORE — Avon: Matt Wentz; 2B — A: Wentz, V: Peterson; WP — Ian Long (3-0); LP — Caleb Waller (3-3).
Last Updated: 5/8/2013 11:38:00 PM EST