Twenty-thirteen has not been the best of seasons in Hickory High’s proud baseball program annals.
But with the 2nd half of the District 10 Region 2-AA campaign commencing with Thursday’s 6-2 success over Sharon, veteran Hornets’ headmaster Gary Hinkson is hopeful for a 2nd-half turnabout.
“We’ve been down ... up ... playing pretty sporadic all year. But if we can play better than when we haven’t played well, yeah, I hope we can get it turned around,” Hinkson related.
At Sharon’s Johnny Pepe Field, Hickory harvested a 144-pitch (84 strikes) complete-game performance from righthander Mark DiBattiste.
DiBattiste scattered 7 Sharon safeties — he weathered a 39-pitch 3rd inning when he surrendered the Tigers’ 2 tallies — but recovered to retire 11 of the final 15 hitters he faced, throwing only 62 pitches during the game’s final 4 frames. He helped himself by starting a 1-6-3 double-play in the 4th, quelling Sharon’s 2-on, 1-out uprising.
DiBattiste finished with 7 strikeouts while walking 5.
“He battled,” Hinkson praised. “There were a couple innings where he had a couple guys on, and a couple times when we thought, maybe, he was getting a little tired. But then he would come right back. Yeah, just a super effort.”
Without the benefit of a base hit, Hickory (5-3 region, 6-6 overall) harvested a 3-run 2nd stanza against Sharon starter Nick Carlo. After retiring the Hornets in order in the 1st, Carlo’s command deserted him, and 3 bases on balls and a hit-batsman cost Carlo 3 runs.
The ‘Stingers struck Sharon southpaw reliever Mike Songer for a pair in the 3rd. An error and base hit set up DiBattiste’s sac-fly RBI. Then after Songer started a 1-6-3 twin-killing, Brooks Pletcher plated a run on an RBI-single to right.
Justin Stefanowicz started Sharon’s 3rd as he, Josh Nichols and Carlo connected for consecutive base hits, with Carlo’s cashing in the 1st Tigers’ tally. Songer’s 1-out infield single — part of his 3-for-3 plate performance — was followed an out later with Sharon’s 2nd score as Daniel Vandeslice drew a bases-loaded walk. However DiBattiste whiffed Leo Rahn.
Sharon stranded 6 baserunners during the 1st 3 innings.
Despite striking out, Brady Leunis eventually scored in the 6th stanza when his swinging 3rd strike was mishandled. Tommy Cannon crushed reliever Stefanowicz’s 1st pitch for an RBI-single for a Stingers’ insurance run.
“It’s just seemed like we can’t get everyting going on all cylinders,” Hinkson said in summarizing the season’s 1st half. “We would have a game where we got good pitching, but couldn’t hit; we’d play good defense, and our pitching wasn’t there. We just couldn’t get everything going at the same time. (Thursday), I thought we played good defense, we had great pitching, obviously, and we had a couple hits when we needed them.”
“This is a real balanced region,” Hinkson continued. “If you look at Sharpsville (7-1, 8-2) ... then there’s a bunch of us bunched together. So I think the second half’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Cannon connected for 2 hits for Hickory, as did Pletcher. DiBattiste drilled a double, and Steve Piston produced a hit and tallied twice.
For Sharon (4-3, 7-5), in addition to Songer, Carlo cracked 2 hits, but the Tigers of taskmaster Mike Tomko took their 2nd straight setback after being blanked by Brookfield in Tuesday’s non-league game. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Sharpsville 14, Commo-dore Perry 3 — At Sheakleyville, Tyler Wansack ripped a pair of singles, belted a 3-run homer and drove in 6 runs in leading the Blue Devils (7-1, 8-2) past the Panthers.
Also for Sharpsville, Bryan Stafford had 3 singles, Taylor Lenzi and Jake Bulick both ripped a pair of singles, Tanner Morris tallied 3 singles and 2 runs scored, Jalen Mockabee notched 2 singles and an RBI, Greg Popatak singled twice and scored 3 times, and Mitch Fyffe added 2 singles and 2 RBI. Lenzi earned the win. He fanned 2, walked 1 and gave up 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings of mound work.
Matt Jones pitched into the 5th frame and took the loss for CP. Offensively, Jones, Jason Forbes and Wade Peterson had 2 singles each.
ä Grove City 5, Slippery Rock 4 (11 inn.) — At Slippery Rock, Derek Saylor walked in the top of the 11th inning, Ryan Grace sacrificed him to 2nd base and Ben Lucas doubled in the run as the Eagles (4-0, 9-2) beat the Rockets.
Matt Gordon and Doug Horner both had 2 singles and an RBI for GC and Hodge doubled. Lucas earned the win. He pitched 9 innings of relief with 6 strikeouts, 7 walks (3 intentional) and gave up no runs on 3 hits. Hodge started and pitched 1 inning, then returned in the 11th frame to earn the save.
Mitch Robinson pitched the 9th, 10th and 11th innings for SR. He walked 2 and gave up 1 hit. Offensively for Slippery Rock, Jackson Kerchis had a 2-run double and Cody Stephenson collected 2 singles.
ä The Reynolds at Rocky Grove gave was postponed to May 3.
ä Sharpsville 13, Reynolds 10 — At Transfer, Rachel Harenchar belted a solo home run and a 3-run shot in the 7th inning in leading the Blue Darlings (5-1, 7-2) past the Lady Raiders.
Also for Sharpsville, Megan Whalen, Megan Davis and Elle Marrie all had 2 singles and McKenzie Popatak and Euguna Davies both doubled and singled. Maddie Shuttleworth went the distance for Sharpsville. She struck out 3 and gave up 18 hits.
Hailey Gearhart belted a pair of homers for Reynolds, Autumn Babcock and Kristen Shearer doubled and singled and Danielle Babcock and Hughes had 2 singles each. Gearhart suffered the loss on the mound. She fanned 8 and allowed 12 hits in going the distance.
ä Wilmington 8, Sharon 3 — At Wengler Field in Sharon, Abby Sotter fired a complete-game 5-hitter with 15 strikeouts and 6 walks as the Lady Hounds (4-1, 9-2) topped the Lady Tigers.
Courtney Cohen belted a 3-run homer and singled for Wilmington, Chelsea Rogel had 4 singles, Ashley Houck ripped a trio of singles and Alanna Elliott had a 2-run double.
Gabby Gadola was tagged with the loss. She struck out 2, issued 2 free passes and gave up 14 hits.
Kayla Reardon led the Lady Tigers at the plate with a pair of singles.
ä Conneaut Area 12, Grove City 4 — At Conneautville, GC starter Cassie Feather only lasted 1ìinnings as the Lady Eagles (3-10) fell to Conneaut (5-4). Feather struck out 1 and gave up no hits, but walked 5 batters. Maddie Elberty and Belle Chiodo also saw time on the mound for GC. Micaela King had 3 hits for GC while Payton McClearn collected 2 hits.
Sara Blair went the distance for Conneaut Area. She whiffed 5, walked 4 and allowed 10 hits. D. Hazen had 3 hits for the hosts.
ä Springfield Local 6, Brookfield 1 — At Brookfield Twp. Park, the visitors were paced by the pitching of Semazh, who struck out 8, walked 2 and surrendered only 3 hits. Troggi triggered the offense with a 3-for-3 plate performance that included a 2-run home run for Springfield Local (8-5).
For Brookfield (6-3), losing pitcher Alisha Quillen KO’d 8 and scattered 6 hits while walking 3. Quillen clouted her 1st career round-tripper, also.
ä The Corry at Hickory game was postponed to noon Saturday.
ä Meadville 3, Farrell 0 — At Farrell’s E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the host Steelers suffered a 25-10, 25-13, 25-14 sweep to the 5th-ranked team in the state in Class AA.
Farrell coach Dan Dragicevic said he was missing starters Austin Pinkins, Tyrone Archie and Anthony Pegues, all of whom were attending a kinesiology seminar at Penn State University.
“We had three starters out and played five freshmen, three of whom started. It was a good learning experience, and we got to see a lot of the younger kids,” Dragicevic said.
For Farrell (2-5), Trevor Austin (5 kills); Jalen Scott (9 assists); Chase Butler (6 digs) and Alex Meyers (6 assists) were the highlights.
MASH improved to 7-0.
JV: Meadville, 16-25, 23-25, 15-12
ä Grove City 4, Kennedy Catholic 1 — At Grove City, the Eagles (5-1, 11-1) swept singles play and battled KC tough to take 1-of-2 doubles matches.
Matt Welker, Evan Lowers and Chris Adams won the singles matches for GC. Both doubles matches went 3 sets with the Eagles’ Dylan Motta-Frankie Bassani winning at No. 1 and KC’s John McGonigle-Blase Hudson taking 2nd doubles.
Singles: Welker (GC) def. Nickolo Lima, 6-0, 6-0; Lowers (GC) def. Jesse Kirila, 6-3, 6-1; Adams (GC) def. Paul Fusco, 6-0, 6-0. Doubles: Motta-Bassani (GC) def. Stephens Edge-Drew Grabigel, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; McGonigle-Hudson (KC) def. Kyle Yeakle-Andrew McCracken, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(10).
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
ä Greenville 76, Slippery Rock 74 — Nick Scovil (100-meter dash), Christian McElhaney (1600-meter run), and Devin Sulick (intermediate hurdles) posted season bests for the triumphant Trojans. Sulick was returning from a fractured scapula, coach Mark Hayes reported.
Scovil also won the 200-meter dash and lent a leg to the winning sprint-relay team, which was anchored by freshman newcomer Sergei Stainbrook, who was subbing for injured standout Luke Houpt.
Northcott notched a double-double in the discus and javelin and Sam Furrh finished 1st in the long and triple jumps for Slippery Rock.
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
GREENVILLE 76, SLIP. ROCK 74
3200 relay — Slippery Rock (Jones, Cessar, Anna, Magliocca), 8:40.4; 110 hurdles — McCall (SR), 16.8; 100 — Scovil (G), 11.4; 1600 — McElhaney (G),4:43.7; 400 — Trumball (G), 54.2; 400 relay — Greenville (Rickert, VanAken, Scovil, Stainbrook), 45.9; 300 hurdles — Sulick (G), 43.4; 800 — McElhaney (G), 2:08.1; 200 — Scovil (G), 24.2; 3200 — Bickle (SR), 10:33.3; 1600 relay — Greenville (Hecking, Riffe, Gearhart, Trumball), 3:41.9; Shot put — Weaver (G), 44-1; Discus — Northcott (SR), 123-6; Javelin — Northcott (SR), 144-7; Long jump — Furrh (SR), 20-1; Triple jump — Furrh (SR), 40-0; High jump — Kirkwood (SR), 5-10; Pole vault — Gerlach (SR), 11-6.