Avon Eagles use 7-run 2nd inning to win season opener

AVON — For a season-opener, it had a little bit of everything.

A wild beginning saw the two teams combine for 17 runs in the first three innings. Once things settled in, Avon junior Alex Tomko kept St. Vincent-St. Mary in check for the final four innings en route to the Eagles’ 9-8 non-conference win at All Pro Freight Stadium on Saturday.

“It was apparent early on, everyone was getting use to what baseball is like outdoors,” Avon Coach Frank DeSmit said. “We were glad to get a game in before going down south against a good quality opponent … we have a lot of new faces. It’s going to take us a little while I think.”

The Irish (0-1) jumped on Avon starter Ian Long, putting up four runs in the top of the first inning. The Eagles sliced the deficit in half, scoring a pair of runs on a single by Austin Bevins and an error in left field.

The pair of runs in the first inning off of Irish starter Andy Farrell helped jump-start Avon’s offense in the second inning. The Eagles sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring seven times. With the bases-loaded, senior catcher Matt Wentz provided one big blow with a bases-clearing double to left-center.

Shaun Traine’s single to right-center was the other blow, which plated a pair of runs, and give Avon a seemingly comfortable 9-4 lead after two innings.

However, the Irish found the same kind of success they had in the first inning. With two outs, the Irish were able to load the bases. Ian Dillard, who had three hits in the game, closed the gap to one with a bases-clearing double of his own. That ended Long’s day.

Tomko came in with the tying run at second and ended the rally by getting Anthony Cerreto to fly out to left.

With the jitters out of the way, both teams settled in. Farrell threw five innings and didn’t allow a hit over his last three. Kevin Krukemeyer threw a scoreless inning in relief.

While the Irish did an admirable job of keeping the deficit only one run, it proved to be too much with Tomko on the hill.

Over 4 1/3 innings, Tomko scattered three hits and didn’t allow a run. He struck out two and walked only one. The Irish only got one runner to second base against Tomko.

In the seventh inning, he gave up a single to put the game-tying run on, but got the final out of the game with a fielder’s choice.

“It felt good being out there,” Tomko said. “My fastball and changeup were working. I just kept staying focused hitting my spots and staying in control.

“This was really our first time being outside, so it took us a while. We settled in pretty well.”

Though the pitching staff isn’t set in stone, Tomko knew he was next in line after Long.

His performance also reinforced DeSmit’s philosophy when it comes to pitching.

“He is one of those guys who don’t throw super-hard,” DeSmit said. “He keeps people off-balance and that’s what pitching is all about. We try to tell the guys all the time; it doesn’t matter how hard you throw. It’s throwing it in the right place and keeping them off-balance. He did nice job.”

With Avon having new faces, starting off the season with a win is what Tomko was the happiest about.

“It’s huge to start off the season with a win,” he said. “You never want to start the season off with a loss, so to get this win is a good sign for us.”

Avon travels to Charleston, South Carolina to play Monday in a tournament.

Avon 9, St. Vincent-St. Mary 8

Non-Conference

St. Vincent-St. Mary (0-1) 404 000 0 — 8 11 2

Avon (1-0) 270 000 x — 9 7 1

TWO HITS OR MORE – SVSM: Ian Dillard (3),Anthony Cerreto, Kevin Oyakawa; Avon: Matt Wentz; 2B – SVSM: Corey Whaley, Dillard; A:Wentz, Andrew Lee; WP – Alex Tomko (1-0); LP – Andy Farrell (0-1).

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 3/30/2013 8:57:10 PM EST

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