ELYRIA — Colin Vargo and Michael Knapp played a little game of Strike Out for Elyria on Friday at George Day Field.
Vargo struck out 11 in four innings and Knapp fanned the side in the fifth as the Pioneers mercy-ruled Lakewood 15-1 in the Amherst Baseball Summer Classic. Both will be seniors on next year’s EHS baseball team.
The Pioneers (2-1) will have to wait for today’s results to see if they qualify for Sunday’s semifinals. Lakewood is 0-2.
Vargo spotted his fastball well and used his change-up and curve effectively once he had the hitters off balance.
“In the bullpen (before the game) I didn’t really throw it,” Vargo said of his backbreaking curveball. “I feel like once I get in a groove, I can throw it better. It was fun throwing strikes.”
“He had 75 percent strikes,” Elyria coach Ed Piazza said. “I was really surprised because his summer coach said he struggled this summer throwing strikes. He had some confidence going there the first inning.”
Vargo struck out the side on 12 pitches in the first.
“I don’t think he warms up as well in the summer as he did here,” Piazza said. “I was very pleased because he’s going to be a key person (next season). He’s going to have to step up.”
As for Knapp, it was his first work on the mound since the spring high school season.
“We wanted to give him at least two innings,” Piazza said. “He’s coming off an arm injury and he’s been playing well in center. That was the first inning he’s thrown all summer. He’s going to be in our rotation.”
“Striking those kids out was fun,” Knapp said. “I haven’t done it in a while because my arm was hurt. It was nice that I could just come in and do it.”
Knapp led the charge offensively with a triple in the first inning to drive in Vargo, who had doubled with one out. Elyria scored three in the first inning, added two more in the second and sealed the mercy-rule win with 10 runs in the fourth.
Knapp, Nate Taylor and Austin O’Quinn each had two hits. Gage Barbee and Nick Schuster drove in two runs apiece. The Pioneers had 12 hits and took advantage of four walks, four wild pitches, three hit batters, three errors and a passed ball.
Vargo gave up a run in the third inning on back-to-back hits by Phoenix Jouriles and Billy Murphy. He surrendered another hit to Terrence Checkett in the fourth.
However, the Rangers only put one other ball in play — a harmless pop out to Tyler O’Hare along the first base line. Everything else was a strikeout other than one hit batter.
Elyria beat Lakewood and Firelands but lost to Amherst in the round-robin tourney.
“It is what it is,” Piazza said when asked about qualifying for Sunday’s final four. “We got to see a lot of what we wanted to see. Hopefully we can move on to Sunday. If not, I think we accomplished what we wanted to see.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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