Tori Meyer's game-winning single lifts Avon Lake Shoregals over Amherst Comets

AMHERST — Tori Meyer makes such good cupcakes that her coach Buzz Mullen calls her the cupcake queen.

Apparently baking isn’t the only thing Meyer comes through in the clutch for her team.

Meyer hit a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the sixth as Avon Lake hung on to beat Amherst, 4-2, in Southwestern Conference action Monday afternoon.

“We’ve been playing really well, and beating Amherst is always a great feeling,” Meyer said. “As a team we just did well, we played together.”

Nothing new for last week’s seventh-ranked team in Division I, who will likely jump up in this week’s poll.

“I have all the faith in all nine girls — if we’re flexing even 10 — but even all 12 on the team, they all can step up and do the job,” said Mullen, whose team improved to 19-1 and 9-1 in the conference. “I’m the one that usually tells them, ‘You’ve done this 2,002 times, so let’s make it 2,003 and just do what you can do.’”

And in the sixth inning the Shoregals showed why they’re state-ranked for a reason, coming through with big hits in a tie game on the road.

Paige Collins and Abby Rogers both reached on one-out singles to setup Meyer, who roped a 1-2 pitch of Zoe Beetler into center field to break a 2-2 tie.

Meyer’s approach at the plate was to battle pitches off Beetler (8-5), who had eight strikeouts, fanning Meyer twice in her first two plate appearances.

“I knew we needed to get hits, but without Abby and Paige on we would not have gotten those two runs,” Meyer said.

Annie Wennerberg (15-1) struck out nine and allowed just three hits in seven innings pitched for the Shoregals.

That first hit came in the bottom of the third, where freshman Ashlee Dahman’s solo home run to center tied the game at 1 after Avon Lake took the lead in the top of the inning on an RBI single from Wennerberg.

The Shoregals regained the lead in the fourth on Morgan Turner’s bloop single to center, scoring Paige Collins after Collins singled and went to second on a single off the bat of Rogers.

Much like they did in the third, the Comets (11-9) battled back in the fifth.

Lauren Farley singled to center with one out and went to second after Dahman drew a walk. After Brooklyn Gonzalez flied out to short, Mallory Harrell tied the game with a single to right.

“I was really happy with how we played,” Amherst coach Bill Matthews said. “I thought the kids played well and competed well against a good team. We’re very young, freshman hit one out ... It’s a good sign for everything. Zoe pitched well and we played good defense.”

The Comets missed some opportunities in the second and fourth innings, getting their leadoff hitter aboard on errors but couldn’t take advantage.

Avon Lake swept the season series from the Comets and will need to win out to clinch a share of the SWC with Brecksville, who the Shoregals split two games with this season.

Mullen said Monday’s win will give his team confidence as it heads into next week’s tournament with a sectional final game against Midview.

“It’s a big confidence boost,” Mullen said, “and that’s what I told them out there I said, ‘Ladies, you played up, and then they came back but you did not die, you came right back.’”

“I said the exact same words, ‘This will help us in the tournament because that’s how all tournament play’s going to be.’”

Meyer agrees.

“It boosts our confidence,” Meyer said, “but we know that we have a big target on our backs, so we have to keep playing as we are.”

Avon Lake 4, Amherst 2

Southwestern Conference

Avon Lake (19-1, 9-1) 001 102 0 — 4 10 3

Amherst (11-9) 001 010 0 — 2 3 1

TWO HITS OR MORE — Avon Lake: Paige Collins, Abby Rogers, Emily Young; 2B — AL: Young; HR — A: Ashlee Dahman; WP — Annie Wennerberg (15-1), LP — Zoe Beetler (8-5).

@PaulBarney18

Last Updated: 5/6/2013 9:14:14 PM EST

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