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Lutheran West 22, Kirtland 2
By Staff Reports
Wednesday, May 17, 2017   |  box score

ROCKY RIVER --  Lutheran West scored eight runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 22-2 thrashing of Kirtland as the Longhorns brought home their first district championship in 21 years.  West moves on to face Warren Champion High School in the Massillon Region next Thursday at 5pm. 

Kirtland looked tired before the game started.  #3 seeded Kirtland had narrowly defeated #7 Wickliffe 10-8 late last night in a game that ended after 10 pm.  That game cost Kirtland their top two pitchers, as OHSAA rules dictate that a pitcher who throws more than 29 pitches cannot pitch the next day. 

In direct contrast, West came out with lots of energy and looked well rested and at ease the entire game.  Nothing, of course, calms the nerves better than scoring eight runs in the top of the first. 

Senior Josh Cales started the game with a sharp single of the middle.  Then junior Owen Albers doubled on an 0-2 pitch fastball up around his eyes to the left field wall scoring Cales.  Senior Alex Robinson then singled to right to score Albers. Not wanting to left out of the hit parade, junior Rory Zakareckis ripped a 0-2 double into the gap in right center to score Robinson.  Zakareckis scored West’s fourth run when senior Scottie Berghaus singled to center.  Exit Kirtland’s starter. 

It didn’t matter.  Senior Tristan Zimmer hit his first of two doubles off the right center wall.  This one was three-fourths of the way up the 20 foot wall. Junior Alex Gavlak walked. Sophomore John Smolik singled and the left fielder misplayed the ball to score Zimmer. Then junior Jeremy Geye hit a ground ball to third that should have been the first out, but wasn’t because of a bad throw by the third baseman to the plate in his rush to cut down Gavlak trying to score.   Back to the top of the order, Cales singled for the second time in the inning—he would finish the game with five hits in five at bats—to score Smolik.  Albers, the tenth batter in the inning, then flew out to center for the first out of the inning.

Kirtland was visibly shaken by the onslaught.  They never recovered.  And West continued to mash the ball, scoring five more times in the second, two more in the third, and, despite emptying the entire bench, put up seven more runs in the fifth. 

"In my five years of coaching, I've never seen anything like it," said Kirtland Coach Luke Smrdel in an interview after the game.  "They hit the ball hard everywhere. It was unbelievable.  We had some pitching depth issues coming into the game and they exposed our weaknesses."

After the top of the first, the rest of the game felt more like a formality.  With Zimmer dealing, and Kirtland in shock, West coasted to the victory.  Zimmer (W, 5-0) pitched all five innings, allowing only three hits and two runs (both earned). He walked only one.

The box score looked more like a slow pitch softball game than a baseball game.  Twelve different Longhorns had hits in the game.  Eleven Longhorns had RBIs.  13 different Longhorns scored a run.  Cales (5), Robinson (3), Berghaus (3), Albers (2), and Zimmer (2) all had multiple hits.  Berghaus (4), Albers (2), Cales(2), freshman Tyler Robinson (2), and sophomore Jake Albrecht (2) all had more than one RBI. 

With the win, the Longhorns are now 20-2.  The last time Lutheran West won a district title was in 1996.  Coach Trey Lamb was a sophomore at Lutheran West that year.  Lamb threw a no-hitter in the Regional Semi-finals, but lost 1-0 thanks to a pair of errors that led to an unearned run.  It is the only time, previous to this year, that Lutheran West baseball has ever gone to Regionals.
Tue 3/28/17
W, 6-2
Wed 3/29/17
W, 9-1
Mon 4/3/17
W, 10-1
Tue 4/4/17
W, 8-3
Wed 4/5/17
W, 7-4
Mon 4/10/17
W, 10-1
Tue 4/11/17
W, 4-3
Thu 4/13/17
W, 9-3
Tue 4/18/17
W, 12-2
Wed 4/19/17
Thu 4/20/17
L, 6-3
Mon 4/24/17
W, 5-1
Tue 4/25/17
W, 4-0
Wed 4/26/17
L, 9-1
Thu 4/27/17
W, 5-1
Fri 4/28/17
W, 10-8
Wed 5/3/17
W, 9-0
Mon 5/8/17
W, 16-2
Tue 5/9/17
W, 15-0
Wed 5/10/17
W, 3-0
Thu 5/11/17
W, 21-0
Tue 5/16/17
W, 7-4
Wed 5/17/17
W, 22-2
Thu 5/18/17
L, 9-7
Fri 5/26/17
L, 9-3
Watch Replay
2017 Coach Trey Lamb
2011 through current
2017 Varsity Baseball
Team Picture and Roster

Lutheran West
3850 Linden Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116-4099

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

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