AMHERST — Though pitching has been the catalyst for the Amherst baseball program’s recent success, the Comets made a resounding offensive statement Saturday.
Churning out 19 hits en route to a 22-0 drubbing of Lakewood, Amherst advanced to the semifinals of the Amherst Baseball Summer Classic.
The Comets put up eight runs in each of the first two innings.
“The last few years we have relied pretty heavily on our pitching,” Amherst coach Matt Rositano said. “To see them attack the baseball and hit the way they have of late is a really good sign.”
Amherst improved to 3-0 in the tournament and will be the top seed in today’s four-team playoff. The Comets are the defending champs.
“The chemistry and camaraderie the kids are developing in this tournament makes everything worth it for me,” Rositano said.
Though offense stole the show, Amherst’s pitching was stifling with three pitchers combining to hold Lakewood without a hit and allowing four walks and striking out 11.
Luke Feakins pitched the first three innings, walking just a batter and striking out six to get the win.
“With such a big lead, I just tried to throw strikes and hit my spots,” he said. “I know my defense has my back behind me so it makes it a lot easier for me.”
Feakins also played a big role with his bat. The incoming senior had an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run triple in the second that put Amherst up 15-0. He also scored two runs.
Eight of the first nine Amherst batters reached base in the first, and the player who didn’t picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly.
Jacob Mantin ripped a double to left field to score two runs. He had three hits, scored two runs and had four RBIs.
Amherst batted around in the first and second innings then added three runs in each of their final two at-bats.
Justin Hritsko joined Mantin with three hits, while Feakins, Monos and Eric Ritter each had two hits.
“It’s a lot of fun when so many people are getting hits and it motivates you to want even more,” Mantin said.
Lakewood loaded the bases in the fifth inning but the Comets worked their way out of it to keep the shutout intact.
“A lot of teams can lose focus when they jump out to a big lead like that,” Rositano said. “I thought we showed growth and maturity with the way we finished the game.”
l Keystone beat Bay 14-1 to advance to the semifinals today.
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