|Updated 8:45 p.m., Luther, Eastwood baseball two-hit Elmwood (4-30-13)|
|Written by Kevin Gordon Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 30 April 2013 18:22|
The Eagles’ hitting and defense made sure Luther’s excellent pitching didn’t go to waste. PHOTO GALLERY
The senior left-hander pitched a two-hitter and Eastwood collected 13 hits en route to a 12-0 win in a Northern Buckeye Conference baseball game.
He struck out two and walked three to keep Eastwood perfect in the NBC.
The Eagles, 11-3 overall, share the NBC lead with Otsego at 4-0. Every other team in the conference has at least two losses. Elmwood is 8-6, 2-2.
Skylar Dierker led Eastwood, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Eastwood scored single runs in the first and second innings, and broke the game open with a three-run fifth and a seven-run seventh.
The Eagles also played small ball as three of their four sacrifice bunts produced runs.
Eastwood was sharp defensively with no errors, and it turned in a number of good plays in the field.
“We always stress pitching and defense, and those two things are what keep you in games,” Eastwood coach Kevin Leady said. “We did a nice job offensively.”
Eastwood was helped by an uncharacteristically poor performance by Elmwood.
The Royals couldn’t score in the first after putting runners at second and third with one out, and they had a runner at second with one out in the fourth.
Elmwood also made three errors, resulting in four unearned runs — the first unearned run came in the second and the next two came in the fifth.
Luther pitched well after walking Elmwood’s first two hitters. The Royals bunted the runners into scoring position, but a strikeout and a comebacker to Luther ended the threat.
Elmwood had singles in the third and fourth, but Luther retired the final 12 hitters.
“I had a little trouble early, but I battled through it and tried to make good pitches,” said Luther, who is 4-0 with a 1.25 earned-run average.
Luther isn’t overpowering, but throws strikes and mixes his fastball and changeup well. Fifty-eight of his 99 pitches were strikes.
“With him on the mound, he doesn’t run it up there crazy so we know we’re going to have good defense,” Leady said. “Because he pitches at a quick tempo, our guys are eager to make plays. They play hard and hustle after the ball.”
Leading the defense were center fielder Grant Peters, who made four catches, and third baseman Jake Schmeltz, who made two nice plays.
“I threw strikes and let my defense do the work,” said Luther, who was 2-for-2 with two runs, two RBI and two sacrifice bunts. “The defense was great. When you get defense and hitting like that, you get more confidence and it helps you pitch better.”
Seven different players had hits and eight players scored for Eastwood. Dierker is hitting .441 in the ninth spot in the lineup.
“We have depth in our lineup,” Leady said. “At the start of the year, we weren’t very deep in our lineup. Now, we don’t have a weak spot in our lineup. The nice thing is every one of them can handle the bat and we bunt anywhere in the lineup if needed.”
Eastwood is seeking its first league championship since 1989 when it won the Suburban Lakes League. The Eagles returned seven lettermen from last season when they were 14-11 overall and 10-4 in the NBC for second place.
“We’re a year older, more experienced on the mound and we’re getting after it,” said Leady, who is in his second season. “The culture is changing around here."
“We’re a lot more focused, especially in practice,” Luther said. “We’re working hard every day and trying to get better and do the little things well.”
EASTWOOD 12, ELMWOOD 0
EASTWOOD 110 030 7—12 13 0
ELMWOOD 000 000 0— 0 2 3
HITS — (EA) Dierker 4, Mang 2, Luther 2, Coffield 2, Drown, Schmeltz, Miller; (EL). Foster, Irick 2B — (EA) Schmeltz 2. RUNS — (EA) Mang 2, Luther 2, Dierker 2, Miller 2, Drown, Coffield, Schmeltz, Krukemyer. RBI — (EA) Miller 2, Luther 2, Drown 2, Dierker 2, Coffield. SAC — (EA) Luther 2, Drown, Peters. SAC FLY — (EA) Mang, Drown. LOB — Eastwood 6, Elmwood 5. DP — Elmwood.
IP H R ER BB SO
Luther (WP) 7 2 0 0 3 2
Irick (LP) 4 6 5 2 2 5
Kerr 3 7 7 6 0 1
Irick pitched to 4 batters in the 5th.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 08:34|
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