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Lutheran West 5, Columbia 0
By Mark Fenske  | staff
Monday, May 10, 2010

COLUMBIA --  Some articles are a pain to write.  Some cause this writer to toss and turn at night, stressing over having to relive the game when the article is written.  Take the Black River article for instance, or the second Clearview article.  Or just about any of the softball articles.

This article is nothing of the sort.  A pure joy to cover, Lutheran West’s victory over Columbia Monday was a pleasure to watch, and a walk in the park to write about.  It had all of the attributes of an entertaining game.  It moved quickly—well, relatively so:  all LW baseball games take over two and a half hours, this one no exception—it had great pitching, stellar defense, timely offense, and no rain.  Exactly what fans want to see when they go to the ballpark.  

Senior Justin Chislow turned in the best pitching performance LW has gotten this year as he shut down the Raiders to the tune of no runs, six hits, and five strikeouts en route to his fifth win of the year.  Seniors Billy Valletto, Cal Thomay, and Mitch Zaharewicz had RBI singles—Zaharewicz’s netted two runs and came with two outs—as LW efficiently scored five runs on five hits.   The team played errorless baseball, with Zaharewicz turning in several fine running catches in right field to keep Columbia from putting much of any kind of pressure on Chislow on the mound.  

In reality the game was only in doubt two times, and both times Chislow and his defense slammed the door.  In the bottom of the first, Chislow surrendered back to back one-out hits to put runners on second and third.  After a strikeout, Chislow got out of the mess by picking off the Columbia runner on third by about three steps.  Threat one neutralized.

Up 5-0 in the sixth, Chislow faced the heart of the order for the last time.  After getting the first two batters to pop out, Chislow gave up a single and a double.  Again, he would bend but not break as the next batter hit a smash to junior Brandon McCartney at second base.  As fans held their breath knowing that LW second basemen have struggled on ground balls in key situation, McCartney calmly moved to his left, corralled the ground ball and threw out the runner by five steps, ending the rally.

It was a play that McCartney has had trouble with all year, but one that he had little problem handling yesterday.  It was evidence to where this team has come—to how much improvement has been made.  With sectional tournament play beginning this week, the team seems to be peaking at the right time.   Defensively the team has begun to gel.  On the mound, LW has pitched much better in the last seven days then they have all year.  Offensively, senior Ryan Jones, Valletto, and Zaharewicz are really starting to come around.  

Maybe this team—underachieving all year—has finally found their stride.  Maybe they have finally turned it around.  After all, it is better to finish strong than to begin strong.
Wed 3/31/10
L, 6-2
Thu 4/1/10
W, 12-2
Tue 4/6/10
W, 9-8
Wed 4/7/10
W, 12-2
Thu 4/8/10
L, 7-0
Sat 4/10/10
L, 7-6
Sat 4/10/10
W, 12-1
Mon 4/12/10
L, 5-3
Tue 4/13/10
W, 14-0
Wed 4/14/10
W, 19-10
Mon 4/19/10
L, 10-6
Tue 4/20/10
W, 5-4
Wed 4/21/10
L, 8-6
Fri 4/23/10
W, 10-8
Tue 4/27/10
W, 13-6
Wed 4/28/10
W, 9-3
Fri 4/30/10
W, 16-1
Sat 5/1/10
W, 19-0
Sat 5/1/10
W, 25-7
Mon 5/3/10
L, 5-4
Wed 5/5/10
L, 8-7
Fri 5/7/10
W, 10-0
Sat 5/8/10
W, 8-7
Sat 5/8/10
Lincoln West
W, 12-8
Mon 5/10/10
W, 5-0
Thu 5/13/10
W, 6-5
Wed 5/19/10
W, 3-2
Thu 5/20/10
L, 6-5

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

Phone: 440.333.1660
Fax: 440.333.1729

Acts 3:6-8 I don’t have much, but what I have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus-Walk!  The man jumped up leaping, dancing and praising God!