ELYRIA — Hard as a rock.
The band AC/DC made the phrase famous. Elyria Catholic’s Ryan Rock took it to a new level Wednesday.
The senior right fielder pounded out two home runs, a double and drove in four runs as the Panthers defeated Black River 12-0 in a five-inning Cuyahoga Community College Division III Sectional final.
Elyria Catholic (18-8) advances to play Keystone or Wellington in the district semifinals.
“This was my first two-homer game of my career,” Rock said of his sixth and seventh homers of the season. “I think it was because I really worked hard on my strength conditioning during the offseason.
“Both pitches were fast balls right over the plate. Today was a good victory for us.”
Not a single Panther struck out as Elyria Catholic finished with 11 hits. Besides Rock’s three, Stephen Saddler and Ian Kovacs had two each.
The slugging was nearly matched by the pitching of Chris Tomshack (4-1). He allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out nine and allowing only two Pirates to reach third base.
“My key pitches were fastball, cutter and knuckleball,” Tomshack said.
Tomshack’s only problem inning was the fifth, when he gave up two hits and a long fly ball out to left. However, got out of the jam by striking out consecutive batters with runners on second and third.
Elyria Catholic had big innings in the second, fourth and fifth. The mercy rule was enacted when Rock hit a three-run homer in the fifth with two outs.
Black River (6-18) was plagued by six walks and one error, plus routine plays that didn’t produce outs such as pop-ups that fell or miss-played grounders that resulted in Elyria Catholic hits.
“When you give a team five or six outs an inning, you’re in trouble,” Black River coach Dozier Hendershot said.
Contact Jerry Rombach at (440) 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.