By Greg Gulas
Cody Simon’s two-run homer in the second inning was all Lakewood St. Edward needed as the Eagles defeated Howland, 2-1, in a Division I baseball district semifinal Thursday at Cene Park.
Simon’s round-tripper overshadowed the pitching of Tigers sophomore Chris Maze, who struck out 11 and doubled at the plate.
“Chris did an excellent job for us today and made just one mistake with a fastball on an 0-2 count,” said Howland coach Jason Stanford. “Good hitters take advantage of that opportunity.
“We had seven days off and haven’t played since last Wednesday, but our boys played hard and competed and that is all that we can ask of them,” Stanford said.
The Eagles’ Stephen Kisan led off the second inning with a double and facing an 0-2 count, Simon turned on Maze’s fastball that was out over the plate, depositing it over the center field fence.
St. Edward (13-5) will play Shaker Heights for the district title today.
“In a near flawless game, we both made plays when we needed to and that was big,” said Stanford. “The last couple of weeks we really put it together and today we showed that we can, in fact, compete at the highest level.”
In the third inning, Howland’s Nick Marino led off with a triple over right fielder Kevin Burke’s head, racing home when the next batter, Domenic Termine, grounded out to shortstop Tommy Mirabell.
Mirabell turned two double plays, registered two putouts and had six assists.
“Defensively, we’ve been doing what we’ve done all season long,” said St. Edward coach Danny Allie. “It’s at the plate where we have struggled.
“This team needed the 13 games that were rained out because it has been tough for them to get into any type of rhythm.
“We haven’t faced many lefties this year, but give Cody credit because he stepped up when we needed it most,” said Allie. St. Edward pitcher Vince Bartolone scattered five hits and struck out four for the complete game win.
Maze struck out 11 and allowed just six hits for the Tigers (13-6).