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Diamond Report

High school baseball: Amherst beats Lakewood to stay in first-place tie atop SWC

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    Amherst's pitcher Kyle Dalzell (17) pitches during a game against Lakewood on Thursday evening, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's first baseman Jacob Lezon (21) jumps to catch a pop fly during a game against Lakewood on Thursday evening, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's third baseman Caleb McGee (14) makes a throw to first for an out against Lakewood on Thursday, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's right fielder T.J. Stanton (18) fields a bouncing ground ball during a game against Lakewood on Thursday, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's Jason Monos fields a bouncing ground ball as shortstop Josh Qualls (1) runs over to be the cutoff on Thursday, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's first baseman Jacob Lezon (21) jumps to catch a wild throw and still manages to tag out Lakewood's Jared Yocabet (10) out at first on Thursday, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Amherst's catcher Eric Ritter (8) high fives teammate Kyle Dalzell (17) after Dalzell made the last out of an inning against Lakewood on Thursday evening, April 18.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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LAKEWOOD — Amherst pitcher Kyle Dalzell was the definition of clutch Thursday.

Tasked with facing one of the best teams in the Southwestern Conference, Lakewood, and with a win keeping the Comets in a first-place tie in the league standings, Dalzell delivered.

Facing little trouble throughout, he went the distance, allowing six hits and striking out four over seven innings of a 3-0 victory.

Amherst improved to 11-3 overall and 8-2 in the SWC. The Comets are tied with Olmsted Falls atop the conference, while Lakewood fell to 9-6 and 7-3.

Building on his performance earlier in the week, when he came in to close out a critical conference game against Avon, Dalzell improved to 3-0.

“I’m just not giving up. I’m battling every pitch out there,” he said.

Dalzell’s teammates were impressed by his performance.

“It was phenomenal. It really hyped us all up. We all wanted to be there and back him up for it,” Comets catcher Eric Ritter said.

After seeing only five pitches in the opening inning, Amherst manufactured its first run in the second.

Ritter reached on an error with one out and got into scoring position on a passed ball. Lakewood got an out before losing a ball in the sun in center field that allowed Ritter to score.

“I saw it go up in the air. There’s always a chance that an error can happen,” Ritter said. “You just put your head down and run as far as you can within the amount of time you can. If you make it home and they drop it, that’s good for us.”

Ritter came up clutch again for the Comets when he delivered a one-out RBI single to score Jacob Lezon in the sixth inning. Lezon reached on one of Amherst’s four hits. Caleb McGee had another, with a base hit. He scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly from TJ Staton.

“We wanted to add insurance to Kyle’s pitching job out there. We wanted to give him a little extra cushion,” Ritter said. “I just went up there to get a ground ball or hit a gap.”

Going the distance appeared easy for Dalzell. He preserved his arm early in the game with quick innings and a low pitch count.

“I was able to get ahead. I was really being aggressive on the mound,” Dalzell said. “I was able to get that first strike on them and then throw the curveballs, because they weren’t on the curveballs at all.”

“He’s a three-year varsity player, he’s been in big games, played in big situations,” Amherst coach Matt Rositano said. “Coming in on the road against a really good team, playing for first place, that senior experience ... he’s going to go out there and battle and produce.

“Playing well is contagious and we’re starting to play really well defensively. Our pitching has been really good all year and our hitting is starting to come around. Confidence breeds confidence and hopefully we’ll just keep rolling it into next week.”

Amherst 3, Lakewood 0

Amherst Lakewood

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Qualls 4 0 0 0 Yocabet 4 0 0 0

Monos 3 0 0 0 Supinski 4 0 2 0

Lezon 3 1 1 0 Adames 3 0 0 0

McGee 3 1 1 0 Miller 3 0 0 0

Ritter 3 1 1 1 Morrissey 3 0 0 0

Staton 2 0 0 1 Lewellyn 2 0 2 0

Dalzell 3 0 0 0 Wihelmy 3 0 1 0

Feakins 2 0 0 0 Facaros 3 0 0 0

Hart 3 0 1 0 Hascher 3 0 1 0

Hritsko 0 0 0 0

TOTALS 26 3 4 2 TOTALS 28 0 6 0

Amherst 010 002 0 — 3 4 1

Lakewood 000 000 0 — 0 6 3

SB — Hritsko. LOB — Amherst 4, Lakewood 10.

IP R ER H BB SO

Amherst

Dalzell (W, 3-0) 7 0 0 6 3 4

Lakewood

Adames (L, 2-2) 7 3 2 4 1 4

PB — Wihelmy 3

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