Five seasons under coach Matt Rositano has spelled a 104-41 record and a 2016 district title for Amherst Steele baseball.
Heading into year six, he and his Comets will look to avenge a 2-1 loss against Avon in last year’s district final.
Amherst edged the Eagles for the 2016 district crown before falling to Lucas County’s Anthony Wayne High School in the state sweet 16.
“What’s been the hardest during our last two playoff runs is lack of run support for our pitchers,” said Rositano on Friday after a 3-0 start for his squad, in which opponents were outscored 26-3. “In the sweet 16, we outhit Anthony Wayne 8-2 but only got two runs on the board, then we lost a pitcher’s duel against Avon last year.”
“We’ve been harping on it so much, getting that run support,” he said. “We lost a couple of big names from our pitching staff, but judging from the preseason and these first few games, our pitching still looks really, really good.”
The loss of pitcher Xavier Moore, who signed with the Texas Rangers organization after being offered a scholarship from Ohio State, won’t be easy to absorb.
However, the return of fellow Division I college recruit Evan Shawver will likely ease that process.
He’ll continue to play next year at the University of Cincinnati but could very well follow in Moore’s footsteps in being drafted by a Major League club.
In his Comets career, Shawver has hit .313 with 46 runs scored, 14 doubles, three home runs, 36 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. On the pitcher’s mound, he’s accumulated a 13-7 record with 194 strikeouts and a 1.08 earned run average in 27 appearances. His career strikeout total is the all-time record at Steele, as is his single-season total from last year — 92.
He’s been named to the All-Lorain County first team three times, All-SWC first team once, and All-SWC second team twice. Last season, he earned All-Northeast Ohio first team and All-Ohio second team honors.
“We’ve given up one earned run in our first three games,” Rositano said. “Evan is a big part of that; guys like Anthony Berrios, Jack Faight, Dylan Eaton, Justin Hritsko, and Cameron Karnik have all looked great on the mound. As long as we’re able to supplement that with runs, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Berrios has also commit to playing baseball at the next level, signing on with Lake Erie College in November.
Senior shortstop Ryan Glowacki will patrol the infield at Fairlegh Dickinson University in 2019 while catcher Hunter Cassidy will move on to Tiffin University.
Glowacki hit .356 in 2017 and over his Steele career has racked up a .287 average with 33 runs scored, 10 doubles, one triple, two home runs, and 37 runs batted in. Last season, he earned a first team spot in both Lorain County and the Southwestern Conference.
“We’re going to lean on our seniors,” Rositano said. “Cameron Karnik and Kyle Mantin have combined to go five-for-11 to start the year and that’s huge. It’s let Shawver get into the middle of our lineup and have more of an RBI role.”
Underclassmen set to make an impact include Kyle Dalzell, Jacob Lezon, and Eric Ritter, the coach said.
Rositano said the Southwestern Conference is more wide open than it has been the past couple of seasons. He expects a tough fight in repeating as champions.
“A lot of the really good teams from last year graduated many starters,” Rositano said. “Avon lost eight starters but they’re traditionally very good. Olmsted Falls should be a tough out. I think Midview and Berea-Midpark are also skilled and well-coached. Lakewood and North Olmsted always get the best out of their players and it all makes the SWC a grind every single season.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.