AVON — Avon Lake has had its troubles at the plate this season, so the Shoremen have tried to find success through smart baserunning and making the most of their at-bats in the second half of the season.
Avon Lake rode that new approach to a 5-4 win Monday over rival Avon in a Southwestern Conference game at Sprenger Stadium.
The Shoremen (6-8, 4-7 SWC) had only two hits but won thanks to good decision-making and solid defense. The Shoremen drew seven walks and stole two bases, while committing zero errors to the Eagles’ four.
“We’re gonna go with whatever works on that given day,” Avon Lake pitcher Jackson Armbrecht said.
“If it’s small ball, we have no problem going with it.”
“In order for us to be successful we need to be able to take bases, we need to be able to bunt, we need to be able to hit and run, we need to be able to bunt and run,” Avon Lake coach Kevin Marlow said. “We were able to do much of that today and we were able to push across a few when we needed it.”
The fourth inning was key for Avon Lake, which scored four runs on just one hit.
Ethan Shepard drew a walk and Aidan Jantz was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Alex Harrington’s single to shallow left field loaded the bases.
Colin Flinn was also hit by a pitch to drive in the first run and Gage Duesler drove in Jantz on a fielder’s choice with Flinn being tagged out at second. A passed ball scored Harrington and moved Duesler to third and Armbrecht and Negron both drew walks to load the bases for the third time in the inning. Aidan Grabowski drove in the final run on a walk.
Avon (7-8, 5-6) couldn’t help but feel it gave the game away.
“I think we just need to stay focused throughout the game,” Avon center fielder Ryan Jones said. “I feel like there’s always one inning that kills us with errors. I think if we stay locked in throughout the game, we’ll be able to close out games and it’ll be a lot easier.”
Reliever Logan Allomong provided a bright spot for the Eagles. After blowing a save in an appearance last week against Amherst, on Monday he limited the damage in Avon Lake’s biggest inning. In all he allowed no hits and just one unearned run in 3 2/3 innings.
“My job is just to go out there and throw strikes,” Allomong said. “The errors, that’s part of baseball and that’s just going to happen. We just need to clean it up a little bit and we’ll be a dangerous team.”
As for the Shoremen, they’re hoping their new approach continues to pay dividends.
“We’re trying to instill in the guy’s head to have just a little better at-bats with runners in scoring position,” Marlow said. “Get the bunt down we need to get down, be smart on the bases and good things will happen.”