Malvern improves their playoff hopes with 4–1 victory
Malvern Black Knights stood tall on the mound in their varsity baseball game against Leaside May 12.
Led by the arms of starter Zak Webster and reliever Luke Ainsworth-Wieb, the east-end school handed Leaside Lancers their first loss of the season, 4-1.
Malvern’s lead knight, coach Rob Salvatore, lauded the duo’s skill.
“It’s all about pitching and that’s what matters,” he said. “Our guys fortunately pitched a great game and they also played huge in some pressure situations, picked off some guys and really generated some outs.”
In the first inning, Webster worked out a few kinks as Leaside’s Steve Edwards started the game with a lead-off double.
Owen Laing would later bring Edwards in on a hot shot up the middle.
But the Lancer’s starting salvo was muted as John King was thrown out stealing home and Scott Hayden was thrown a chair by Webster to end the inning.
Leaside’s Chris Novachis would sit down all three batters he faced, as a small pitching duel was taken into the second.
Webster struck out all three batters, giving his team a needed boost as they tagged Novachis for four runs in the top of the third, two of which were cashed in by Webster, helping his own cause with a double.
The next batter, Kevin Holmes, nailed Novachis for an RBI double through the second baseman. Brendan Monk would answer that with a bolt up the third base line.
“The bats were going today. Offensively, I thought we had one of our best games,” Salvatore said. “We left a lot of guys on base still, which is something we want to try and correct to generate some more runs, but I think overall we’ve got to be pretty happy with a win like this.”
Pitching changes by both Leaside and Malvern came in the fifth. Hayden shut down Malvern’s run production while Ainsworth-Wieb let his infield do most of the heavy lifting.
With their first mark under the L column, Lancers coach Eric Stickney was calm, noting their next game May 18 against Humberside is a must-win.
“I’m proud of my guys,” he said. “They keep getting better every game. They’ve been learning a lot.”
Salvatore’s charges will look to shoot down Oakwood Barons at Christie Pitts the same day.
“We’re right in the hunt for the top of our division,” he said. “With a win against Oakwood we’d be right in there with a first round bye for the playoffs.”