LAGRANGE — Solid pitching and defense, flanked by timely hitting is a strategy Keystone has employed for a while and it worked well again Thursday against Midview. The Wildcats didn’t allow a run after the first inning and turned back the Middies 5-2.
“Our pitching was really good and overall the boys played solid, fundamental baseball,” Keystone coach Bert Fitzgerald said. “It’s good for them to get out there and mesh together as a team while also improving.”
Keystone is 2-0 in the tournament and all but guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s semifinals.
The Wildcats look like a serious threat to win the tourney for the second time after taking the title in 2017.
“It’s great to get with the kids and go over little things about our program,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a great time to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Kyler Yusko started and got the win for the Wildcats.
Yusko got off to a rocky start, allowing both his runs in the opening inning, but he settled in after that, tossing four scoreless innings and allowing only two hits and striking out five.
“It wasn’t the start I wanted but I was able to recover pretty well,” said Yusko, who pitched five innings and struck out seven. “My defense did a good job behind me and I just tried to focus on throwing strikes.
“The more I get to throw the better I’ll get, so it’s always fun to get out there and pitch a good game. I got more comfortable as the game went on.”
After falling behind in the first inning, Keystone wasted no time answering back.
Nathan Archer opened the bottom of the first with a triple to the left-field gap and scored on the next play to cut Midview’s lead to 2-1.
“It felt good to get a spark going because I knew the first inning was tough,” Archer said. “I just try to keep it simple when I go to the plate and not overwork anything.”
Keystone tied the game in the second inning and took the lead for good in the third.
Archer had an RBI single in the third and Yusko singled and scored the game’s final run.
“It’s a lot of fun to play baseball when you play the right way,” Archer said. “This is a good tournament to get some extra work and get better.”
Midview won its tournament opener and is 1-1 heading into its final opening-round game against North Ridgeville on Saturday.
Middies starter Jacob Landers pitched well enough to keep them in striking distance, but got little offensive support. He was the only player in the lineup with two hits.
“Overall, I thought we played pretty well but there are always things to work on,” Midview coach Carl Lambert said. “They had some timely hits and did a good job of finding the hole.”
Yusko and Archer each had two hits for Keystone and the Wildcats had nine different players reach base.
Archer also made a nice running catch in center field to end a threat in the fourth inning.
“I take pride in helping the team win on both sides of the ball and want to be an all-around player,” Archer said.
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