Luke Carter looked into the future Wednesday at Union City High School.
He predicted Tyler Walters was going to hit a home run during his seventh-inning at-bat. And then, just as he predicted, it happened.
But let’s not call Carter a psychic just yet. After all, Saegertown’s offense has been doing this kind of thing all season long.
Ryan Paden homered and knocked in three runs, Walters drove in three as well and Carter was dominant on the mound with five strikeouts as Saegertown cruised to a 9-0 Region 4 win over Union City.
It was Saegertown’s eighth shutout of the season and the first time all year it has played a full seven innings.
“It’s nice to get some work in,” Saegertown skipper Tim Crum, whose team has allowed just four runs all season. “These guys are staying focused and playing well in all aspects.”
The Panthers moved to 12-0 on the year and 4-0 in Region 4, putting them two games ahead of second-place Union City, which dropped to 2-2 in league play and 6-4 overall.
For yesterday’s game, Saegertown’s talented lineup went up against the Bears’ solid freshman hurler Schyuler Hopson, who entered the game with a 5-0 mark toeing the rubber.
He got the Cats to go 1-2-3 in the first. Then, well, Saegertown began playing Saegertown baseball. And when that happens, it can get ugly for the opposition.
In the second, Paden belted the first pitch he saw for a two-run shot and Austin Scere doubled and eventually scored on a throwing error. That would just be the start of a rough outing for Hopson, as the rookie earned the loss by giving up seven runs.
“I usually don’t like to swing at the first pitch, but that one looked like a beach ball coming in,” said Paden, who also pitched two innings of no-hit baseball in relief of Carter. “I just stayed back on the ball and drove it. That’s how I was taught, just stay back and swing through the ball.”
Saegertown added two more runs in the third, one of which came off an RBI double by Walters. That would be all the support Carter needed.
The junior hurler is part of a pitching staff that has allowed just two runs in four region games this season and four total runs all year long.
After back-to-back singles to Shane Russell and Austin Waters, Carter settled down and retired 11 of the next 13 batters.
He allowed just four hits on the afternoon, two of which came from Waters.
“It was another good day,” said Carter. “With our offense, you know you can pitch with confidence. We know every team is going to come after us with everything they got, so we just have to bring everything we have every game.”
Stephen Sada added an RBI single in a two-run fourth inning, making it 7-0 Saegertown.
Then in the seventh, Walters locked in and drove an offering from Drake Burgess (Hopson’s fifth-inning replacement) well over the fence to put the final runs on the board.
Saegertown went through round one of the Region 4 gauntlet unscathed. Now, the Panthers are looking to refocus and make sure the next four region tilts, which won’t start up until May 1, have the same outcome.
“We have a clean slate now, we’re 0-0,” Crum said. “These teams are going to be hungrier the second time around. We have to act like we haven’t played any of these teams before and just stay focused.”