By Drew Karpen
Nothing could get in the way of the Saegertown baseball team picking up a pair of wins on Friday. Not even Mother Nature. With a dark cloud hanging over Ed Acker Field, the Panthers made quick work of Conneaut with a run-shortened 12-0 and 11-1 win in non-region play.
“All in all we are satisfied,” Saegertown coach Tim Crum said.” It is two more wins for us. Overall we hit the ball pretty good and pitching did a good job.”
Standing out at the plate for the Panthers was Scott Sada. On the day, Sada went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored and six RBIs.
In Game 1 — which was a makeup from the first game of the season that was postponed due to inclement weather — the Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Cruising along on the mound for the Panthers was Luke Carter.
Carter pitched five innings and allowed four hits and struck out eight.
Sada’s big blast came in the fourth inning with two runners on.
“We hit the ball well the first game,” Crum said. “I think we almost batted .500 as a team so we came out swinging the bats well. We ran the bases well, things were clicking in the first game.”
The Panthers’ success transferred over to Game 2, where they were looking to end the game early to avoid the thunderstorms rolling in.
They got out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning off of Conneaut starter Luke Graham.
Steven Sada got the ball rolling for the Panthers with a leadoff walk and stolen base to get into scoring position. Later in the inning, Sada advanced to third on a single by Austin Scere. With runners on the corners, Scere and Sada successfully completed the double steal of second and home to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Walters was then plunked on an offspeed pitch, followed by back-to-back RBI singles by Carter and Kyle Wise.
Scott Sada continued to tear the cover off the ball in the first, ripping a two-out two RBI double to left center to make it 5-0.
The lead was more than enough for Saegertown starter Jacob Digiacomo.
However, it looked like Saegertown’s momentum could have been interrupted in the top of the second. The light drizzle on the field turned into a heavy downpour in a blink of an eye, forcing the home plate umpire to call both teams into their dugouts. But just as quickly as the rain started, it stopped. All of the Saegertown fielders didn’t even reach the dugout before the game was called back on.
“Usually you try to play through a few rain drops but they saw some black clouds,” Crum said. “It was pretty funny, It was a drill. It kept the blood flowing a little bit.”
Digiacomo went back out on the mound and breezed through the Conneaut lineup, not allowing his first hit until the fourth inning.
The Panthers offense was back at it in the bottom of the second, scoring two more runs on a bases loaded RBI single by Carter and then Scere crossed home plate on a wild pitch to make it 7-0.
The Eagles finally broke the scoreboard for the first time in the fourth inning. Brandon Sherman started the inning with a single and came around to score on an RBI single by Bryce Groh.
But that would be as close as Conneaut would come. The Panthers tacked on another three runs in the fourth and ended it in the fifth on a double by Carter for the 11-1 win.
Although they are pleased with the wins, coach Crum would love to see some of his team’s games go longer than five innings.
“I would love to see games go longer than five innings, believe it or not,” Crum said. “We want to have that pressure put on us. We want to be put in situations where we need to work to get out of them.”
The Panthers all but locked up the Region 3 crown. They will have a chance to do that with a win at Cochranton on Tuesday.
For Conneaut, coach Todd Greenawalt was pleased by his team’s performance and thankful they could get the games in.
“We were focused,” Greenawalt said. “We just got beat by a better team. Our pitchers battled and had some trouble throwing strikes there for a little while. That gives them extra baserunners and those runs are going to add up.
“You can’t simulate that quality of pitching though in practice so it is a benefit to play good competition.”