The early-spring weather has been unseasonably cold, but Sharpsville High baseball team’s bats were ablaze Friday afternoon.
It was Blue Devils’ double digits for the 2nd time in as many days, as Sharpsville scored 10 sixth-inning runs en route to a 20-12 District 10 Region 2-AA rout of Hickory.
At Hermitage, the Blue Devils drilled 20 base hits, including 3 apiece from Tyler Wansack, Jake Bulick, winning pitcher Taylor Lenzi and Mitchell Fyffe. Also, Greg Popatak produced a 2-for-3, 4-runs scored, 4-RBI outing and Jalen Mockabee mustered 2 more hits, plated another pair, and tallied 3 times. Leadoff hitter Bryan Stafford strode to the plate 6 times in 7 stanzas and stroked 2 hits, also.
On an inside-out swing the lefthanded-hitting Popatak pounded a 3-run home run to the left-center field gap during the 2nd stanza.
Sharpsville was skunked 11-1 in 5 frames in its season-opener by Commodore Perry on Wednesday, but dropped a dozen runs on Lakeview on Thursday in a 12-7 win. On Friday, the Blue Devils did everything but kick a PAT following their 3rd touchdown.
“You don’t want to use the first time on the field (Wednesday) as an excuse. We didn’t hit and we didn’t field well. The team that went out there wasn’t the team that we know is gonna be out there,” admitted Sharpsville skipper Mike Sikorski. “The Lakeview game we moved, because of the weather ... we kind’ve got our momentum going with our infield (defense) and hitting, and got some confidence.
“And this is how I expected our team to hit,” Sikorski said. “We hit very well, but, again, our fielding needs to keep us in games.”
Hickory actually held a 9-8 lead through 5 frames. Lenzi balked home the tying run with 2 outs, then Matt Delmonaco drove in the go-ahead run with a single to center.
However in the 6th Sharpsville sent 14 batters to the plate, beginning with Wansack’s seemingly harmless infield single off Hickory reliever Andrew Derrick. Fyffe flared a run-scoring single down the right-field line, followed by Stafford’s bloop-single against a drawn-in infield. Subsequently, Derrick and reliever Anthony Cannone issued bases-loaded walks, and Wansack whacked a 2-run single on his 2nd trip of the inning, Bulick banged another 2-run bingle, followed by Ross Llewellyn’s run-scoring single.
The right-handed starter Lenzi allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in 5-plus innings (97 pitches, 56 for strikes). But buoyed by southpaw George Keck’s 2 innings of relief, was credited with the win for Sharpsville (1-1, 2-1).
“It’s been a rough year, getting out(side) later than normal,” Sikorski observed. “Normally, by Easter it’s 65, 70 degrees and you can get out and get your ‘reps,’ working on your defense, bunt coverages, but we really haven’t had a chance to do that yet, other than in the gym.”
For Hickory (0-5), Nate Mastrian manufactured a 4-for-5 plate performance that included a double and 2 ribbies; Brady Leunis lent 2 hits including a double and 3 RBI; Delmonaco drove in 3 more runs on 2 hits, while Steve Piston pounded a pair of hits, including a 2-run double.
Stingers’ starter Tony Stigliano lasted only 1ê innings after yielding 5 runs on 6 hits, while reliever Jason Gay — greeted, on his 2nd pitch, by Popatak’s 3-run ’dinger — permitted 3 runs on 4 hits in 2-plus innings. Derrick actually struck out the side, sandwiched by a walk, in the 5th, before tiring. Cannone — whose diving catch in center field on Fyffe’s liner saved 2 runs in the 4th — also took a turn on the hill, as did Delmonaco. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Grove City 12, Gen. McLane 2 (6 inn.) — At Grove City’s Memorial Park, the Eagles’ season-opening homestand continued with another win.
Winning pitcher Matt Gordon garnered 9 strikeouts and permitted just 2 hits and 2 walks. Also for Grove City (3-1), Ben Lucas laced a hit and tallied 3 times, Jordan Anderson added a single and 3 ribbies,a nd Jesse Hodges had 2 hits and 3 RBI.
Losing Lancers’ hurler Hendricks had a rough 1st frame, allowing 3 runs.
Veteran mentor Pat Forese’s Eagles entertain Fort LeBoeuf today at 1 p.m.
ä Grove City 5, Sharon 0 — At Buhl Park, the visiting Eagles improved to a perfect 3-0 with the sweep of the Tigers on Friday.
Matt Welker, Evan Lowers and Chris Adams swept singles play for Grove City while the teams of Frankie Bassani and Ravi Patel and Kyle Yeakle and Lee Wishing prevailed in doubles play.
Singles: Welker (GC) def. John Benedetto, 6-1, 6-0; Lowers (GC) def. Doug McVehil, 6-1, 6-0; Adams (GC) def. Jack Evans, 6-2, 6-2. Doubles: Bassani-Patel (GC) def. Dylan Cerroni-Steven Merchant, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Yeakle-Wishing (GC) def. Skyler Villegas-Ross Ballard, 6-1, 6-2.
ä Wilmington 6, West Middlesex 2 — At New Wilmington, Abby Sotter fanned 7, walked 2 and only allowed 4 hits in a complete-game performance for the Lady Hounds (2-0).
Cassidy Marett had 2 singles and a double for Wilmington, Lexi Donati ripped a pair of doubles, Alanna Elliott had 3 singles and Courtney Cohen added 2 singles.
Jordyn Allen went the distance on the mound for the Ms. Reds. She struck out 5, issued 4 walks and gave up 12 hits.
Offensively for WM, Taylor Gilliland tripled and singled and Aly Andrusky and Megan Taylor both doubled.
ä Sharon 13, Commodore Perry 3 (5 inn.) — At Wengler Field in Sharon, Mallory Torr and Danielle Steiner both belted 2-run homers in leading the Lady Tigers (2-0) past the Lady Panthers.
Torr also singled, Kristina Jacoway tripled, singled and drove in 3 runs and Marissa Monnin added 2 singles.
Gabby Gadola went the distance for Sharon. She struck out 5 batters, issued no walks and gave up 6 hits.
Emily Sanner went the distance for CP. She had 1 strikeouts, 7 walks and surrendered 9 hits.
Offensively for the Lady Panthers, Sanner and Alexis Nagy both doubled and Devon Sernik ripped a pair of doubles.
ä Jamestown 4, Cambridge Springs 3 (10 inn.) — At Jamestown, the Lady Muskies (2-1) pulled out the win in 10 frames.
In the 10th, each team starts with a runner on second base. Nicole McElhaney sacrificed Makela Rust to third base and Jessica Arnold drove Rust in with a ground ball.
McElhaney ripped 3 singles for Jamestown, Lindsey Gurrerini and Mackenzie Adams both doubled and singled and Marissa Hetrich and Brenda Kaller had 2 singles each.
Erynn Williams went the distance for Jamestown. She whiffed 11 batters, walked 4 and gave up 12 hits.
Kayla Parkin pitched all 10 frames for Cambridge Springs. She struck out 8, issued 4 walks and allowed 14 hits. Tori Hall had 4 singles for CS.
ä Liberty 4, Brookfield 2 — At Brookfield Twp. Park, the Lady Warriors (1-1) suffered a 2-run loss to the Lady Leopards.
Ashley Custer suffered the loss. She fanned 6 and walked 1 in 3 innings of mound duty.
Ciara Rotunno had 2 hits and drove in the lone run for Brookfield and Michaela Gauding doubled.
ä Titusville 17, Grove City 2 (3 inn.) — At Titusville, Shana Grosch, Amy Clark and Kim Finley all homered as the Lady Rockets beat GC (0-3).
Grosch, who also earned the win with 2 strikeouts, 1 walk and 4 hits, also singled, Clark doubled and singled and Finley and Kate Garrett both doubled.
Maddie Elberty took the loss for GC. She walked 2 and gave up 11 runs on 9 hits in 1 inning.
Taylor Shingledecker belted a 2-run homer for the Lady Eagles and Katie Maine doubled.