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Alex Tomko pitches 3rd complete game in shutout of Rocky River Pirates
Using precise location on his pitches, the right-hander scattered six hits and threw his third complete game of the season in blanking visiting Rocky River 5-0 in West Shore Conference play Wednesday at All Pro Freight Stadium.
“I just keep working on hitting my spots,” Tomko said. “(It’s) the same stuff I have been doing all year. I try to get it over the plate and let my defense make the plays. They did well.”
While Tomko isn’t the fastest pitcher in terms of velocity, his ability to locate his pitches frustrated Pirates (2-4, 1-2) batters early and often. When Tomko did get into trouble in the third inning with two outs; he was able to force a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Tomko’s counterpart Mitch Williams equaled Tomko’s effort. Though Avon (4-7, 2-1) was able to squeeze in a run in the first inning on Kevin Maloney’s RBI single, Williams kept them in check until the fifth inning.
With two outs and Bradford Dill on second, Andrew Lee was able to beat out a slow grounder to short. While Lee did his job, Dill raced around third, never stopping to score an insurance run.
Rocky River appeared to have figured out Tomko in the sixth inning, putting runners at first and third with no outs.
Tomko proved to be a magician, starting a 1-6-3 double play and keeping the runner at third. He got out of the inning with a ground-out to first.
“That was huge,” Tomko said. “First and third with no one out, you expect at least they will get one of them in. That double play — he (runner on third) didn’t go home, so that was huge. I was able to get the next guy, so no one ended up scoring that inning.”
The defensive effort ended up giving a spark to the offense.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Eagles put the ball in play and forced Rocky River to make plays. It ended up working to Avon’s advantage with the Pirates allowing a pair of runs to score on miscues. Jonny Morales had an RBI on a fielder’s choice to score Austin Bevins.
Ian Long, who started at second base for the first time this season and played well defensively, scored on an errant throw. Morales scored on a second throwing error by the Pirates.
Seeing his team put the ball in play pleased Avon coach Frank DeSmit.
“We tried to work on the fact we have been terrible this year in getting two-out RBIs,” DeSmit said. “We’ve taken a lot of called third strikes. We needed to work on situational hitting. That was the focus in practice.
“I asked them that every guy have a plan stepping into the box and executing it. For the most part, they did a good job.”
With the additional run support, Tomko (3-0) closed out the complete game effort with his fifth strikeout of the game.
“We were taking a few too many pitches early,” Rocky River coach Darryl Sanders said. “We started swinging late. Now we are hitting it to people, then we get a hit with two outs. When you get runners in scoring position with two outs; it’s tough to get that next hit.”
Avon travels to Bay on Thursday, while Rocky River hosts North Ridgeville.
Avon 5, Rocky River 0
West Shore Conference
Rocky River (2-4, 1-2) 000 000 0 — 0 7 3
Avon (4-7, 2-1) 100 013 0 — 5 5 1
TWO HITS OR MORE — Rocky River: Palker (3); 2B — A: Austin Bevins, Ian Long; WP — Alex Tomko (4-0), LP — Williams (1-1).
Last Updated: 4/17/2013 10:29:29 PM EST