WEST GROVE >> Despite missing some key regulars from their lineup due to some COVID-19 issues, the Avon Grove baseball team got a superb pitching performance and enough big hits to down West Chester Rustin, 8-1, Friday afternoon at Avon Grove High School.
Avon Grove (3-1 Ches-Mont, 3-1 overall) used three pitchers — Zach Fischer, Johnny Dixson and Dillion Litchko — to hold West Chester Rustin (0-4, 0-4) to just three hits, although the Red Devils’ trio did walk 10 Golden Knights. But, the Avon Grove pitchers did not let the walks hurt them in the 8-1 win.
“I was just trying to throw strikes down in the zone,” Dixson said. “I did not locate in the strike zone as well as I usually do but we got the job done. My fastball is usually the pitch I use for the big outs. And we can score runs. We scored eight runs and we were missing some players. This team can hit so if the pitchers do their job we will do well.”
With the Golden Knights holding a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, the Red Devils’ offense went to work on West Chester Rustin starter Dan Wood. JJ Jones led off with a single to right field. Wood then walked the next two Avon Grove batters to load the bases with no one out.
Up stepped Owen Yoder, and on a 2-2 pitch Yoder ripped a hard three-run double to right center field, clearing the bases and Avon Grove had a 3-1 advantage. Rob Weer followed with a hard RBI single to score Yoder, and after two innings, the Red Devils had a 4-1 edge.
Avon Grove starter Zach Fischer was pulled after three innings and Dixson came in to start the top the fourth inning. Dixson did not allow a hit in the fourth or fifth innings, and his performance gave the Devils’ offense time to tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it a 6-1 game.
Sean Glatts laced a sharp double a batter after Trevor Dosenbach singled to put men on second and third with two out. Liam Strawhecker then singled in both Avon Grove runners for a 6-1 Red Devils lead.
“Our starter Zach Fischer is a senior and he did a good job for us today,” Avon Grove coach John Bellaver said. “We just ask our starters to give us a chance to win and keep us in the ballgame and that is what he did. He gave our offense an opportunity to win the game and they came through. Johnny usually is better in the strike zone, but he kept them off the scoreboard and got out of trouble in the sixth inning.
That sixth inning began with a leadoff single by Rustin’s Bryce Kelly. Nick Covis moved Kelly up with a sacrifice bunt. Dixson then asked Jake Monahgan to put two runners on with one out. Carter Piercy hit a grounder to third and was called out at first for the second out with the runners moving up to second and third. Gehrig Fleming walked to load the bases, but Dixson got Justin Rhein to wave at a fastball for the third strike and the Golden Knights’ threat fizzled out.
“We had the early lead and then Dan had that tough inning,” Rustin coach Brad Harkins said. “We have to learn to fight through those things. But give Avon Grove credit. They are a talented team that strung some hits together today.”
Avon Grove 8, WC Rustin 1
WC Rustin 100 000 0 – 1
Avon Grove 040 220 x – 8
2B-Yoder, Glatts, Dosenbach.
WP-Fischer. LP- Wood.