AMHERST — Firelands couldn’t have asked for a better start to this year’s Amherst Baseball Summer Classic.
Playing at Amherst High School on a beautiful evening for baseball, Firelands got a perfect blend of pitching and hitting to roll to a 7-1 win over the Lakewood Rangers.
“A lot of these guys haven’t played in a while so it was nice to get out here and knock some of the rust off,” Firelands coach Dan Ransom said. “It’s also nice to get the younger players some experience.”
It was the first day of the six-day tournament, which includes eight teams for the first time. Each team will play three games with the top four advancing to Sunday’s single-elimination playoff.
“It’s just great for the kids to get the extra reps and go up against some good competition,” Ransom said.
Firelands briefly trailed when Lakewood scored in the top of the second inning, but the Falcons quickly responded with four runs on four hits and three walks in the bottom of the inning.
Cory Ransom had a two-run single in the big inning, and came around to score the final run of the rally.
“I was just trying to stay confident out there,” Cory Ransom said. “It wasn’t that much different than games I’ve played in before.”
Ransom, an incoming freshman, had a huge day at the plate and on the basepaths with two hits, two runs, a steal and four RBIs.
“I felt good out there and I’m excited to keep it going in our next game,” Cory Ransom said.
The Falcons’ pitching was just as impressive as their offense as three players combined to give up just one run on five hits.
Zach Brill started and went three innings, Zach Hales also pitched three innings and Kyle Ransom closed out the seventh.
“It felt great once I got in there and settled in a little bit,” Hales said. “I hope to prove myself at this level and continue to get better.”
Hales, an incoming junior, looked right at home in his first outing on the varsity level, giving up just two hits to go with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings.
“The first inning was kind of nerve-racking but it was an awesome experience overall,” Hales said.
Firelands added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Garrett Varndell had an RBI single on a blooper to left field and Cory Ransom drove in two more runs.
“It always feels good when your offense gives you a little cushion by scoring some runs,” Hales said.
The Falcons had ample chances to blow the game open after building its 4-1 lead, but they left at least one runner on base in each of their final three at-bats.
That was about the only negative for Firelands, however.
“This is a good time to get everyone out there and see how it shakes out,” Coach Ransom said. “This is a great chance for the kids to go out and show us what they are made of.”
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