With state tournament time approaching, the Avon Lake and North Olmsted baseball teams were trying to pick up and maintain some momentum when they met on May 10.

For the host Shoremen (19-5, 14-2 Southwestern Conference), the goal in the leadup to their Division I sectional semifinal, scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m., was to remain even-keeled in their approach. Don’t get too high or too low and control the controllable.

Against the Eagles (6-12, 3-10 SWC), they took control in all phases of the game to eventually win 4-0. Dominic Poltrone and Jack Warren combined to pitch a two-hitter and the defense behind them played an error-free game, making each grounder and flyball out look routine.

“Going into the season, that was our strength – pitching and defense,” Shoremen coach Andrew Means said. “Our bats got hot and now they’re sort of going hand-in-hand with each other, and that’s got us into the position we’re in now.”

Offensively, they ran the bases smartly, turning a pair of Eagle errors into two runs, then used timely RBI singles to increase their scoring advantage.

They took the lead for good in the bottom of the first. Gage Duesler led off with a single, stole second and scored on a Nick Gorczyca double to right field. With two outs in the fourth, Liam Reutter made it 2-0 when he lofted a Gannon Graf offering over the infield and into short center for a RBI bloop single.

In the fifth, errors on back-to-back plays by the Eagles (6-12, 2-10 SWC) allowed the Shoremen to plate two more runs. Gorczyca singled with two outs, then an Aidan Grabowski grounder to first was mishandled, allowing him to reach safely. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt gave Gorczyca enough time to scamper home and send Grabowski to third. Poltrone then made it 4-0 with a bloop single to center.

“Any given day, anything can happen in baseball. That’s the beauty of the game,” Means said. “We got some timely hits, a couple bloopers here and there and we got ourselves going.”

It was a hard-luck loss for Graf, who pitched well in a complete game effort and gave up six hits and three walks.

“It was bad luck,” Eagles coach Keith Sandy said. “Gannon threw an 80-pitch complete game. He was all over the dish all game. There were some unfortunate bloops that got through and then we didn’t defend. When we’re not hitting it, we’ve got to be tighter on defense...

Poltrone pitched five innings to get the win, allowing two hits, walking three and striking out five. In two shutout innings of relief, Warren combined a sharp fastball with a frustratingly-slow breaking ball that led to five strikeouts out of six batters faced and drew loud cheers from the home dugout.

On May 12, the Shoremen beat Olmsted Falls 8-1 to clinch at least a share of the SWC championship. They entered the Division I tournament as the No. 4 seed overall, coming out of the Barberton District. Seeded 26th overall, the Eagles opened Barberton District play by hostin No. 29 Elyria in a sectional semifinal on Monday. Results weren’t available at press time.



Strongsville District

5/18 Tuesday’s sectional semifinals

#25 Normandy at #23 North Ridgeville, late

#15 Lakewood at #14 Cleveland Heights, late

5/20 Thursday’s sectional finals

#32 Bedford or #30 Garfield Heights at #3 St. Edward, 5 p.m.

#25 Normandy or #23 North Ridgeville at #5 Amherst, 5 p.m.

#15 Lakewood or #14 Cleveland Heights at #11 Brunswick, 5 p.m.

Cleveland District

5/18 Tuesday’s sectional semifinal

#35 Cle. John Hay at #16 Avon, late

5/20 Thursday’s sectional final

#35 Cle. John Hay or #16 Avon at #6 Medina Highland, 5 p.m.

Barberton District

5/18 Tuesday’s sectional semifinals

#29 Elyria at #26 North Olmsted, late

#28 Midview at #20 Westlake, late

5/20 Thursday’s sectional finals

#29 Elyria or #26 North Olmsted at #8 Medina, 5 p.m.

#28 Midview or #20 Westlake at #4 Avon Lake, 5 p.m.


North Ridgeville District

5/17 Monday’s sectional semifinal

#20 Rocky River at #17 Brookside, late

5/19 Today’s sectional finals

#9 Bay at #5 Hunting Valley University School, 5 p.m.

#20 Rocky River or #17 Brookside at #4 Lodi Cloverleaf, 5 p.m.


Creston District

5/17 Monday’s sectional semifinal

#11 Creston Norwayne at #10 Lutheran West, late

5/19 Today’s sectional final

#11 Creston Norwayne or #10 Lutheran West at #7 Black River, 5 p.m.

Copley District

5/17 Monday’s sectional semifinal

#20 Fairview at #9 Akron Manchester, late

5/19 Today’s sectional semifinal

#20 Fairview or #9 Akron Manchester at #8 Wellington, 5 p.m.


Medina District

5/18 Tuesday’s sectional semifinal

#11 Lake Ridge Academy at #7 Open Door Christian, late

5/20 Thursday’s sectional final

#11 Lake Ridge Academy or #7 Open Door Christian at #2 Dalton, 5 p.m.

Contact this reporter at sports@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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