Blue Devils’ Larimer shuts down New Riegel
By JAMES BRADY
Western Reserve is hoping history will repeat itself today in Lorain.
Blue Devils sophomore pitcher Wyatt Larimer allowed just a fifth-inning single to New Riegel over six innings and Lance Dezee got the final three outs sending Western Reserve back to the Division IV regional championship game with a 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets at the USS Pipe Yard.
The Blue Devils (21-5) will face eighth-ranked Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas at 5 p.m. today. The Knights beat Cuyahoga Heights, 5-1, on Thursday. The same two teams met in the regional semifinals last year with Western Reserve winning, 5-3.
Larimer (8-0) out-dueled New Riegel’s 6-foot-5 left-handed sophomore Michael Kirian — who has verbally committed to the University of Louisville — by striking out seven and issuing just one walk to the Blue Jackets (19-8).
“I didn’t feel much pressure going against a pitcher of that caliber,” Larimer said. “I relied on our guys and our bats — I’m just going to go out and pitch my game — and we’ll get out bats going.”
The Blue Devils’ bats never really got going, but the offense did just enough with a little help from New Riegel’s defense to pull out the win.
Ryan Demsky scored the first run after walking to start the third. He went to third on a single by Larimer and scored on a fly ball to right off the bat of Walker Marlowe.
Marlowe’s fly ball was not deep and it looked like Demsky was going to be out by 15 feet, but the Blue Jackets catcher dropped the throw allowing Demsky to get to the plate.
Larimer set down the first 10 batters he faced, but ran into big trouble when New Riegel loaded the bases on a pair of Western Reserve errors and a walk with just one out.
Larimer threw two balls to the next batter, but came back to strikeo ut Alex Theis and got Aaron Acree to fly out to left to get out of the mess.
“Just seven days ago, he pitched with a broken nose and he comes out here and pitched like this today,” said Blue Devils coach Ed Anthony. “He’s not an overpowering presence, but he has good movement on his ball and kept the batters off-balance.”
Western Reserve picked up a huge run in the fifth when Demsky again walked and scored coming home on a two-out flare to right by Jacob Clark for a 2-0 lead.
“I’ve been fighting an oh-fer streak for a while and that was definitely a confidence booster,” Clark said. “It was a big boost to get that run against a guy with that kind of arm and that kind of stuff on the mound.”
New Riegel didn’t go down without a fight as Acree doubled to deep left with one out for the Blue Jackets against Dezee who came on to close.
The rally lasted just four pitches. It ended when Brandon Arborgast hit a rocket up the middle that Dezee gloved and doubled off the runner at second to send the Blue Devils back to the regional final.