AMHERST — For four innings Friday, Amherst senior Anthony Berrios was in control, working out of jams and keeping the potent St. Ignatius offense off the board.
Then that control was gone.
The Wildcats scored five runs in the fifth on one hit and five walks to roll to a 10-1 win over the Comets in the Amherst Summer Baseball Classic.
“We talk all the time about pressuring other teams and forcing them to make plays,” St. Ignatius coach Brad Ganor said. “You don’t draw it up to score five runs in an inning on one hit but I’ll take it. It was a well-played game. It gives us energy together and play well one final time before we get into our offseason program. If we do well here it makes the offseason that much easier.”
Berrios worked out of trouble in the third and fourth innings, both times getting strikeouts to end threats with runners in scoring position. He ran out of luck in the fifth inning.
After allowing a leadoff single to shortstop A.J. Gaich, Berrios committed a throwing error to put runners on second and third. Berrios then walked the next four hitters before giving way to relievers Dylan McCrann and Kyle Dalzell.
“I thought Anthony pitched really well,” Amherst coach Matt Rositano said. “Those first four innings he was lights out. He was around the plate all night. We tried to give him a chance to work out of trouble in the fifth but it just kind of snowballed on him.”
With the win, St. Ignatius (2-0) earned a trip to Sunday’s semifinals. Amherst (0-2) will need to beat Medina today then await the results of the Keystone-Canal Fulton Northwest game to see if it makes it to the semifinals. Medina beat Willoughby South 4-0 in Friday’s other game.
Austin Jones, an Amherst resident and St. Ignatius junior, was a key for the Wildcats, driving in the game’s first run with bases-loaded walk and going 3-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of RBIs.
The Comets scored their only run in the bottom of the fifth when Christian Velez hit a one-out single to center field, advanced to second on a balk and scored on T.J. Staton’s single.
St. Ignatius squashed any hope of an Amherst comeback when it took advantage of three Comets errors to score five more runs in the seventh inning.
Gaich had the big hit, a two-run double to deep left field.
“The biggest thing I want to get out of these games this week is to get some of my younger guys some action,” Rositano said. “We had four sophomores playing today. They see the speed of the game, the intensity of the game and it’s something they can build on.”
Comets catcher Eric Ritter was 2-for-3 with singles to left field his first two at-bats. Gaich also had three hits for the Wildcats.
“It was fun having a chance to come back and compete against the kids I grew up with and played baseball with,” Jones said. “We had a good team effort and it was a good learning experience for us.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.