Alex Tomko pitches Avon Eagles past North Ridgeville Rangers in West Shore Conference play

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon's Alex Tomko pitches against North Ridgeville on Thursday at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Avon’s Christian Giraldo scores has he slides under the tag of North Ridgeville’s catcher Ben Rankin in the fourth inning on Thursday at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL North Ridgeville’s David Januzzi watches the ball bounce away after he dropped a fly ball in centerfield during the fourth inning on Thursday at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL North Ridgeville's Logan Armaro tags Avon's Christian Giraldo with out the ball making Armaro safe at second base with a stolen base in the fourth inning on Thursday at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

AVON — Avon Eagles pitcher Alex Tomko went the distance and limited North Ridgeville offensively in a 3-1 West Shore Conference victory at All Pro Freight Stadium on Thursday.

Tomko went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out five batters and gave up two walks.

“He did today what he has done the first two times he pitched this year,” Avon coach Frank Desmit said. “He goes up there and keeps guys off balance. He’s not a hard thrower, but he hits his spots. He’s been effective and makes him 3-0 now. He has been a pleasant surprise.”

Tomko said that he didn’t try to do anything fancy on the mound and just stuck to his game plan.

“I just tried to keep it simple, just worked on hitting my spots and let my defense make the plays,” Tomko said. “My fastball was doing pretty good and so was my change up and got my curve ball over a couple of times. It’s always tough pitching in this type of weather, you just have to battle through it and do your best.”

The Eagles were first to get on the board, but it took four innings to do so.

Avon’s Matt Wentz drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth. Christian Giraldo pinch ran for Wentz and stole second base to put a runner in scoring position. The Eagles’ next batter, Kevin Maloney, singled to right, advancing Giraldo to third. Maloney stole second to put runners on second and third.

The following batter, Bradford Mill, layed down a bunt and as the ball slowly rolled to the mound, North Ridgeville pitcher Matt Feierabend tried to make a play at the plate. Giraldo was called safe, giving the Eagles a 1-0 after the successful squeeze bunt.

Maloney advanced to third on the successful squeeze attempt and scored on the next play as Ian Long grounded out to second.

Desmit said that his decision to play small ball was due to his team’s recent offensive struggles.

“We’ve been struggling to put runs on the board lately,” Desmit said. “We thought with their pitcher, we could steal a couple of bases and get some guys in scoring position. Brad Dill did an excellent job of executing on the squeeze bunt. Overall, we executed just enough to get a couple runs across.”

North Ridgeville scored their lone run in the top of the sixth inning.

Kevin Shaw hit an infield single with two outs and later stole second. Nathan Colbert hit a RBI single to shallow center to drive home Shaw, making the score 2-1.

Rangers coach Matt Ponting credited Tomko to why their team was held to one run.

“The first thing about the game, you got to tip your hat to the pitcher (Tomko), he threw a good game,” Ponting said. “He was hitting his spots and changing speeds and made it really tough.”

Avon added an insurance run in the bottom sixth when Maloney hit a flyball to right field but was mishandled.

Austin Bevins, who singled earlier in the inning, scored on the error, putting Avon up 3-1.

Feierabend pitched four innings, giving up two runs on three hits, walking two batters and striking out none.

Jacob Chalkwater put in two innings of relief work, giving up one run on two hits while striking out one.

North Ridgeville (4-3) will look to rebound as it heads to Avon Lake for a doubleheader tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m. Avon (3-4) will also play a doubleheader, hosting Massillon Jackson at 11 a.m and Warren Harding at 2 p.m. at All Pro Stadium.

Avon 3, North Ridgeville 1

West Shore Conference

North Ridgeville (4-3) 000 001 0 — 1 4 1

Avon (3-4) 000 201 x — 3 5 0

TWO HITS OR MORE — Avon; Kevin Maloney (2); WP — Alex Tomko (3-0); LP — Matt Feierabend (2-1)

@ samameen

Last Updated: 4/11/2013 11:50:47 PM EST

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