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Amherst 3, Xaverian 2

Hurricanes stop Xaverian

Ziomek gets 17 Ks in brilliant effort

Amherst-Pelham pitcher Kevin Ziomek (7) deliverd a pitch during the MIAA Division 1 state baseball championshipl game against Xaverian at LeLacheur Park in Lowell on Saturday June 19, 2010. Ziomek finished with 17 strikeouts. Amherst-Pelham pitcher Kevin Ziomek (7) deliverd a pitch during the MIAA Division 1 state baseball championshipl game against Xaverian at LeLacheur Park in Lowell on Saturday June 19, 2010. Ziomek finished with 17 strikeouts. (Greg M. Cooper/ For The Globe)
By Mike Carraggi
Globe Correspondent / June 20, 2010

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LOWELL — Kevin Ziomek pitched one of the best games fans at LeLacheur Park have seen all season in the Division 1 championship game against Xaverian, and emerged with a title for his efforts.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ draft pick fanned 17 in a complete-game effort, Sean Cunningham delivered the winning hit in the seventh, and Amherst overtook the Hawks, 3-2, last night for the championship.

“We’ve been working for this all year,’’ said Ziomek, who threw 139 pitches and touched 94 miles per hour in the ninth. “I was feeling pretty strong all the way through.’’

Xaverian starter Derek Reddy almost outdueled Ziomek, but finally wore out in the seventh. Amherst was more than happy to usher him off the mound.

Steffen Herter, who was being reinserted into the game after dislocating his shoulder on a swing in the second, led off the bottom half of the inning with a drag-bunt single and stole second. Chuck Hebb tried to move him over with another bunt, but popped it over the pitcher and reached first, with Herter to third. Bobby Carkhuff walked to load the bases, and Cunningham delivered the game’s biggest swing on the first pitch he saw – Reddy’s 139th – slamming a two-run double off the right-field wall to knock in the winning runs.

“I knew I had to just get something in the air,’’ said Cunningham. “I was hoping it’d get over the wall, but I’ll take it.’’

Tim Duggan entered the game in relief and left two inherited runners in scoring position with two clutch strikeouts and a groundout, but the damage had been done.

Alex Phelan gave Xaverian a brief lead when he deposited the first pitch of the fifth over the wall in right for a 2-1 lead.

Both offenses had the opposing pitcher on the ropes early, but neither was able to deliver a knockout blow. Hebb walked and scored on Ziomek’s two-out line drive single up the middle to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead in the first. Reddy walked Dean Bonneau to load the bases and went to a full count on Derek Osborne, but caught him looking to escape the jam.

Ziomek had a similarly close call in the fourth, when leadoff hitter Chris Hoyt doubled to left field for the Hawks’ first hit. Kevin Aufiero followed by working a walk, and Hoyt stole third and scored when the catcher’s throw went off the third baseman’s glove into left field. Xaverian threatened to take the lead after Kyle MacDonald walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but Ziomek coaxed a 4-6-3 double play out of Gerard Florentino and got John Mullen to ground out to end the threat.

Already having displayed his power, Phelan showed off his speed in the top of the seventh when he led off with an infield single and stole second. Ziomek again survived, retiring the next three batters in order.

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