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Clutch hitting propels Westhill baseball past Hannibal

The late-season baseball match up between Westhill and Hannibal lacked many of the things that make for an exciting baseball game.

There weren't many great defensive plays or any home runs hit, but the contest between two of the top teams in the OHSL Liberty division did boast a solid pitching duel and timely hitting.

Westhill (11-1, 16-2) used the services of starting pitcher Ryan Malley and reliever Pat Lemmo to combine for a two-hitter and got a few big hits late in the game to slip past Hannibal 2-1 on a dark and gloomy Friday at Westhill.

The Warriors, who are ranked third in the state, remain tied atop the Liberty standings with Christian Brothers Academy, while Hannibal drops three games behind.

The first three innings came and went with neither team putting any runs on the scoreboard. Both Malley and Hannibal starter Ben Shortslef coasted early on and puzzled the opposing offenses. Finally Westhill broke the scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning off an RBI from DJ Beaudette.

Hannibal (8-4, 12-5) answered right back to tie the game 1-1 with a run of their own in the top of the fifth, which set the stage for Westhill's big late game hitting.

Shortslef came out for the bottom of the fifth inning and gave up back-to-back doubles to Dan Karleski and Mike Mascari. Karleski scored on Mascari's clutch hit and gave Westhill a 2-1 advantage that would end up being the final score as neither team plated a run the last two innings.

Malley pitched 4 1/3 innings giving up two hits and one run. Lemmo then relieved Malley and didn't allow a hit over the 2 2/3 innings he was in. Because of the late game heroics, Lemmo received credit for the win, his fifth of the season.

For Hannibal, Shortslef pitched a solid game going the full seven innings, but still got the loss. He allowed just four hits and two runs. Ryan Sweeting and Ryan Gleason each had a single, the only hits of the game for Hannibal.

Amid a busy final week of the regular season, Westhill is set to face CBA Wednesday with the OHSL Liberty regular-season title at stake, as the Warriors look to avenge a 6-2 defeat to the Brothers earlier this month.

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