Crusaders send Rockets into orbit, win 13-1
STEUBENVILLE — Solid pitching and a whole lot of hitting lifted Catholic Central to a 13-1 mercy rule victory over Conotton Valley Saturday at Vaccaro Field.
Senior Matt Bell, a second-team All-Eastern District selection as a junior, started on the hill for the Crusaders and allowed just one hit (a double by Kris Hostetler) in recording the win. Bell fanned three and received plenty of help from his defense.
Zach Campbell came on in the fifth and retired the Rockets in order.
Offensively, Don Young’s squad banged out 13 hits (four going for extra bases). Nine different players delivered at the plate in the season opener, and six drove home runs.
“Matt settled in and threw the ball pretty well today,” Young said. “We fielded well behind him. He gave us a solid performance, and Zach did a nice job in his inning of work.
“I thought our performance today really was an extension of the scrimmages we’ve had. We did pretty well in them and kept getting better in each one. I think today was another step in that progression.”
Central jumped on Conotton Valley starter Nate Novak for four tallies in the first. Senior shortstop Noah Fayak led off with a single, advanced on an error (the Rockets committed five fielding miscues) and scored on Luca Connor’s base hit. Bell doubled and he, Jayden Keeder and Ryan Gorman all touched home thanks to errors.
Another error on Dom Argentine’s single to center allowed Connor to score in the second. Connor, Central’s junior second baseman, delivered three base hits in three official trips to the plate (he drew a walk in the fourth) and finished the day with two RBIs.
In Central’s three-run third, Connor and Anthony LeFever each drove home a run. The Crusaders sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth and scored five times. Gorman ripped an RBI triple to right. Fayak and Ryan Anderson both had run scoring doubles, and Argentine knocked in a run with his second single of the game.
Anthony Sprochi and Nick Kissinger added singles to Central’s attack.
“We spend a lot of time working in the batting cage, and we are confident in all of our guys swinging the bat,” Young said. “It was nice to get everyone some swings today.
“We keep saying all the time we have 15 guys on the varsity roster, and all 15 are going to be a big part of any success we have this season. We preach team, and that involves all 15 of our guys playing together.”
Conotton Valley got on the board in the fourth. Kale Sellards walked, moved to third on Hostetler’s double and scored via a wild pitch.
Young’s squad is idle until Wednesday when it entertains Weir High. The first pitch is set for 5 p.m. Central will visit Shadyside Thursday, then host Tuscarawas Central Catholic for two games on Saturday.
“We’re in for a tremendous challenge against Weir,” Young said. “They have a tremendous team with some outstanding talent. We’ll need to be ready to play.”
Catholic Central 13, Conotton Valley 1
C.V. 0-0-0 1-0 — 1-1-5
Central 4-1-3 5-x — 13-13-0
CONNOTTON VALLEY (0-1): Novak (LP, 2 2/3 IP, 7R, 6H, 2BB, 1HBP) Sellards (1/3 IP, 1R, 1H, 1K, 1HBP) Putnam (1/3 IP, 6H, 4R) Barton (2/3 IP, 1R, 2W) and Myers.
CENTRAL (1-0): Bell (WP, 4IP, 1R, 1H, 3K, 2BB) Campbell (1P, 0R, 0H) and Argentine.
TWO OR MORE HITS: Central (Connor 3; Fayak 2; Argentine 2); TRIPLES: Central 1 (Gorman); DOUBLES: Central 3 (Bell; Fayak; Anderson); C.V. 1 (Hostetler); RBIs: Central (Connor 2; Fayak; Argentine; Gorman; Anderson; LeFever).