AVON LAKE — Ryan Calvert was in it to win it.
And he was in it till the end.
The senior threw over 100 pitches in leading North Ridgeville to a 2-1 win over Avon Lake on Tuesday in a Division I sectional opener in a game moved from North Ridgeville to Avon Lake due to wet field conditions.
“We were scrappy today and Calvert pitched a great game,” North Ridgeville coach Matt Ponting said. “He didn’t want to come out of the game and you have to love the confidence he has.”
It was seventh-seeded North Ridgeville’s first win over the 10th-seeded Shoremen (10-15) this season in three tries. The Rangers (14-11) move on to face second-seeded Olmsted Falls in the sectional final Thursday at 5 p.m. at Falls.
“We just have to keep playing the right way and picking each other up and we’ll be fine.” Ponting said.
Calvert pitched a complete game, surrendering just the one unearned run. He put the exclamation point on his outing by retiring the final two batters with two men on base.
“It was a lot and I’m definitely tired,” Calvert said of his pitch count. “I just tried to pitch smart and do anything I can to get the job done.”
Calvert worked his way out of numerous tough spots. He wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, giving up just one run and getting out of trouble with an awkward strikeout when he hit Aidan Jantz in the arm only to have the umpire rule Jantz was swinging.
“I was just pitching for outs and not just for strikeouts,” Calvert said. “I wanted to get them out any way I can.”
Avon Lake’s first two batters reached base in the sixth and moved to second and third with just one out.
Calvert once again worked his magic, striking out the next batter before ending the threat thanks to a close play at first on a grounder to second.
“We just left him out there,” Ponting said. “It’s his game. Have to let him do his job.”
North Ridgeville capitalized on Avon Lake starter Jackson Armbrecht’s accuracy issues in the third inning for its only runs. Cade Riley walked to start the inning, Mike Richmond followed with a single to right and Nate Kisel was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Carson Schneller then drew a walk to put the Rangers up 1-0. A few batters later, Jake Flesher singled down the right-field line to make it 2-0.
“I always focus on the next at-bat and never think about the past,” Richmond said.
Other than that hiccup, Armbrecht was solid, also consistently working out of jams to throw 5 2⁄3 innings.
“Usually he throws more strikes but this has been the way he’s pitched all year, “ Avon Lake coach Kevin Marlow. “He’s been fabulous for us.”
The fifth and sixth innings were the Shoremen’s best chance to do any damage. They only had four baserunners through the first four innings and got no one past second.
But the Shoremen put runners on in the fifth and sixth only to strand five. Not that the Rangers were much better in clutch situations, leaving the bases loaded twice and stranding 10 runners in all.
“We did a great job getting on base but we’d get the bases loaded and then we can’t do anything,” Marlow said. “We just couldn’t find a way to get that ‘oomph’ when we needed it today.”