Wily Wyatt: Devils’ Larimer sharp in win
Western Reserve cruises
into district final today
By charles grove
While there was hardly a cloud in the sky, Western Reserve pitcher Wyatt Larimer was a “perfect storm.”
The junior led the Blue Devils to a 6-0 win over Sycamore Mohawk in a Division IV regional semifinal at the Lorain Pipe Yard.
Larimer (6-1) pitched six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 11 in the process to advance Western Reserve (21-6) to a regional final today at 3 p.m. against Cuyahoga Heights
Things went Western Reserve’s way early in the bottom of the first. Ryan Demsky led off with a single, Larimer bunted him to second and Walker Marlowe hit a ground ball to short. Shortstop Austin Harper tried to get Demsky at third but threw the ball away, giving the Blue Devils the first of many gifts on the day. Two batters later, Marlowe scored on a passed ball to double the lead.
Mohawk (19-10) looked to threaten in the top of each inning. The Warriors got a runner on in each of the first five innings, getting a runner to third base in the third inning and runners to second and third in the fifth. But Larimer got a big out each time the situation called for it.
“He throws hard and then he’s got a couple of off-speed pitches and he did a good job locating them,” Mohawk head coach Eric Hoover said. “We had a few walks but not enough. When we got runners on we couldn’t back it up with any timely hits.”
More gifts were given to the Blue Devils in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Slaven drew a one-out walk and Karl Klockenga came in to pinch run and promptly stole second. After a Demsky groundout, Larimer smacked a single to right to make it 3-0. Marlowe hit another single up the middle to put runners on first and second and then the flood gates opened.
Jeep DiCioccio hit a routine single into left field and Cadin Emshoff failed to get fully in front of it. The ball took a nasty hop and got by him, allowing Larimer and Marlowe to score, making it 5-0. Dom Velasquez added one more the next at-bat to push the lead to 6-0.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we wanted to but we put the ball in play,” Western Reserve head coach Ed Anthony said. “We’ll take them however we can get them.”
Larimer, who improved his career record to 19-1, was only about 80 percent according to Anthony. Despite that, Larimer was able to mix breaking balls well enough to keep Mohawk hitters guessing throughout.
“My slider was my knockout pitch today,” Larimer said. “I could get ahead of their batters and then just get their batters off-balance completely at the end with my slider.
“The right-handers I knew I could start [my slider] at their body and I knew they wouldn’t swing or they’d completely whiff at it. And with the lefties, my curve ball was dropping 12 to 6. I felt completely in control today.”
Larimer was in such control that the biggest challenge was battling the heat.
“[The weather] was draining to a point but I knew if I kept pitching strikes they’d put it out and I could let my defense help me out and I could keep the game in control,” he said.
DiCioccio will get the call today against Cuyahoga Heights. He pitched the Blue Devils to a district championship against Jackson-Milton his last appearance.
“I’m going to try to just pitch my best,” DiCioccio said. “I know I have a great defense behind me so I’m not too worried about that. Just hopefully I can pitch my team to a win.”