“The team’s doing fine,” said Ford.
Catcher Mitchell Lyon suffered a knee injury on May 9 during a home-plate collision against Chagrin Falls. The injury will keep Lyon out for the rest of the season.
Kenston has a Division I sectional final against Nordonia scheduled for this week. When that game is played is anyone’s guess because of the weather.
As of last week, Lyon was 10th in the area in hitting with a .417 batting average (20 for 48), and losing his bat hurts the Bombers (14-7) the most, said Ford. Lyon also has 17 runs and nine RBI.
“We just have to deal with it, and the next guy needs to step up,” the coach said.
Defensively, the loss of Lyon has been eased by the presence of Jacob Silberman, a converted outfielder who has experience as a catcher.
“We’re lucky to have Jacob,” said Ford. “He’s doing fine behind the plate.”
South coach Steve Norris expects big things from his Rebels during the postseason.
“I think we’re the best team in the area,” said Norris. “We can hold our with any team.”
A big reason for that is the emergence of junior pitcher Russell Lamovec, who’s 4-0 this season with a sparkling .046 ERA, a mark that leads the area. The 5-foot-11 pitcher has allowed two earned runs in 30 2/3 innings this season. He’s scheduled to start for South in a sectional final against Mayfield. Norris is hopeful the teams can play May 16, but field conditions throughout the area are a concern.
When South finally plays, Lamovec’s fastball, which reaches in the mid-80 mph range, and a changeup he’s developed will be on display. He has 42 strikeouts this season.
“Russell did a lot of work in the offense working to strengthen his legs, and the result has been about a 7 mph increase on his fastball,” said Norris. “He’s gone from a mediocre pitcher (last season) to a real solid one this season.”
The baseball draft is 22 days away, and when teams make their selections from June 6 to June 8, expect Mentor’s Kade McClure’s name to be called at some point.
At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds with a fastball in the low 90s, the University of Louisville recruit is an intriguing prospect. According to some projections, McClure could be selected within the top 10 rounds.
Cardinals coach Len Taylor said the team that’s shown the most recent interest lately is the Texas Rangers. Other teams that have sent scouts to Mentor games this season include the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners, plus others, said Taylor.
For now, the focus is on the Division I tournament. Weather permitting, Mentor plays Brush next on May 16 in a sectional final.
McClure is 2-2 this season with a 1.87 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 31 innings. As a junior, he was 10-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings.