Meadville Tribune

Sports

March 30, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Mostly intact, Panthers look like favorite in Region 3

March 30, 2013 7:00 a.m. — It would appear as if the planets have all aligned for the Saegertown baseball team this season. The program’s talented crew of ball players returns largely intact after last year’s 23-2 campaign, which saw the Panthers win a District 10 Class AA title and advance all the way to the state quarterfinal round.

However, the Panthers have already learned that nothing is going to be handed to them this year. They picked up that lesson during a trip to South Carolina last weekend, which started with an 8-0 loss to Triple-A program South Park, and then followed with an 11-7 defeat to WPIAL Quad-A team Taylor Allderdice.

Granted, those two games were the first outdoor action the Panthers had had since last year. And, it came not long after a 10-hour bus ride from Pennsylvania. So the team wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. And, indeed, once the Panthers settled in a couple days later they went on to spank fellow D-10 school Hickory 19-1.

By that point, though, the message had already been delivered to Saegertown head coach Tim Crum and his squad: If they want to accomplish anything this season, they are going to have to work for it.

“Getting your (posterior) handed to you is not always a bad thing,” said Crum.

“These kids are not used to losing a lot. They’ve had a heck of a lot of success. And losing is not an easy pill to swallow. I think it showed them that they have to get focused. It’s not going to be a cakewalk for Saegertown this season, either. Not only do the Panthers have eight games in Region 3 to contend with; they’ve also got a tough non-region slate, with games scheduled against various Triple-A programs like McDowell, Cathedral Prep and Meadville.

“We made the schedule a little stronger this year,” said Crum. “We’ve got McDowell twice, Cathedral Prep once. CASH is Triple-A program now. We’ve got Meadville twice. … And we’re going to to see if can pick up another game against some other bigger school, get some stronger competition, even if it’s Allderdice again.”

Last season, Saegertown won a dozen or so games by 10 runs or more. This year’s schedule was designed to ensure that Saegertown comes to play or it gets another bitter pill to swallow.

“We’re in a pretty good position as far as hitting and pitching and catching,” said Crum. “Now we have to get everything in motion and start executing.”

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