LORAIN — No one had to tell Amherst’s Evan Shawver the importance of Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal game against Midview at The Pipe Yard.
But someone did have to tell him he had a no-hitter after the Comets downed the Middies 4-0 to advance to today’s district final against Avon, which downed Berea-Midpark 7-4 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“I didn’t even know until they told me at the end of the game,” Shawver, a junior left-hander, said when asked about his no-hit gem. “I thought in the first inning or I like gave up a hit or something so I never knew until they told me.”
Shawver walked Midview’s leadoff hitter, Nick Capo, on a 10-pitch at-bat in which Capo fouled off four pitches. However, catcher Hunter Cassidy threw out Capo on a strike-out, throw-out double play to end any kind of threat the Middies posed.
“Any time Evan’s on the mound, you really don’t worry about his makeup,” Amherst coach Matt Rositano said after his team improved to 23-5. “He’s a bulldog. When he comes out and throws like he did, teams have a hard time stringing hits together. Today they couldn’t get anything.”
Midview (15-9) had only one other baserunner. That came when Shawver hit Owen Hawke with a pitch with one out in the second inning. Shawver struck out 13 and retired the last 17 with only six even putting the ball in play. His 13 K’s give him the school season record of 92. The prior record was 88 by Rob Trace in 1973.
“I loved the (heat of the day),” Shawver said. “The last few games it’s been cool and you run the risk of your arm stiffening up. It was really hot but our whole team stayed hydrated so we could stay in this game.”
Defensively, Amherst made the plays it needed to make and even had a couple on the spectacular side, but mostly Shawver was the difference.
“He was on,” Rositano said. “All four of his pitches were working. He was pounding the strike zone, and Mark Harris makes a great play in center field and then that play by (Ryan) Glowacki there at the end. That was fantastic. Those are the type of plays you need to get your pitcher a no-hitter.”
The run support hasn’t always been there for Shawver this year. He’s just 3-2 despite having a 0.44 ERA coming into the game and the Comets had scored only seven runs for him prior to Wednesday. Ironically, it was Shawver who got things started in the bottom of the first with a sharp single to left.
“If we get that first run, that always gets us up and gets us more aggressive at the plate,” Shawver said. “I started off with a base hit and I knew my teammates would get me in.”
Shawver advanced to second on a bad pickoff attempt but had to hold on Kyle Mantin’s bunt single that put two on with no out. It took Xavier Moore’s soft single to right to bring him home and when Midview pitcher Derek Dulemba tried to pick Moore off first, the low throw got past first baseman Owen Hawke, allowing Mantin to score.
That was all Shawver needed.
“I felt confident in my pitching,” said Shawver, who is headed to the University of Nebraska to play baseball after graduation next spring.
Amherst added insurance runs in the third and fourth innings. Mantin doubled down the third baseline and scored after a Harris single and Chad Jones’ sacrifice fly. Jeremy Jones drove in Cassidy with a double off the fence in the fourth.
Dulemba scattered seven hits and limited the damage but the Middies just couldn’t get anything going offensively.
“Evan Shawver threw the ball very well,” Midview coach Todd Ratica said. “A lot of his off-speed stuff we couldn’t do anything with. Similar situation last year. We lost 3-0 to him. We played a little sloppy early to get them in position to score runs.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.