The Sacred Heart baseball team took advantage of Wellington-Napoleon’s mistakes in an 11-1 win at Centennial Park on Friday.
Sacred Heart starter Kolin Brace pitched four innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run but walking six and hitting a batter.
He worked his way out of jams in each of his four innings. In the first, he gave up a one-out walk and a single before a foul pop to Mason Kelchner and a strikeout ended the threat.
In the second, a bloop single with one out was followed by a hit-batsman. One run scored on an error but Brace got out of the inning with a strikeout.
The first two Tigers reached in the third inning but Brace got the next three. In the fourth, Wellington-Napoleon loaded the bases with one out on three walks, but the Gremlins escaped that inning unscathed when right fielder Michael Hohne caught a flyball and doubled off the runner on second.
“I thought he was mentally tough,” Gremlins coach Jaric Reid said of Brace. “He’s had some problems where he gets down on himself in the past, but I thought he really manned up (Friday) and battled through those mistakes. He struggled, but it’s hard in this type of weather when it’s cold like this. You can’t quite get loose. You come in and we have a couple long innings at bat, so you’re kind of standing around. It looked like as the innings went on, he got a little bit better.”
Caleb Tanguay finished the game on the mound for Sacred Heart. After missing Wednesday’s opener because he was on the school’s senior trip, he got the first batter he faced to fly out to right. After a one-out walk, Kelchner threw the runner out trying to advance on a wild pitch and Tanguay struck out the third batter of the inning.
“I was just pumped,” Tanguay said. “First game back, I was just trying to get us out of there and get us a win.”
The Gremlins scored two runs in the first, three more in the second, one in the third and five in the fourth. Two of the second-inning runs and all five in the fourth were unearned, coming off five Tiger errors.
“You’ve just got to put the bat on the ball and that’s what we did,” Reid said. “We’ve gotten a lot better at that. On Wednesday we had a lot of strikeouts. You’ve just got to put the bat on the ball, keep the ball on the ground and make them make the plays. They weren’t able to do that and we capitalized.”
The Gremlins got on the board in the first inning. After Jackson Smith drew a leadoff walk and stole second, Tanguay drove him in with a double to right field.
“I saw it good, had a good at-bat,” Tanguay said. “It wasn’t really a pitch I liked but I swung at it, saw it deep and hit a drive.”
Tanguay scored on a Clint Spangler single. Tanguay came through again with another double in the fourth inning, driving home Smith with Sacred Heart’s 10th run of the game. Tanguay reached base all four times he came to the plate, reaching on an error in the second and getting hit by a pitch in the third.
“I’ve been seeing it from him the whole preseason,” Reid said. “He looks more focused and ready to hit than I’ve ever seen him in his career.”
Smith reached base four times, drawing walks his first two times to the plate and getting singles the next two.
Hohne opened the rally in the second by powering a single into right field. He scored from second when a Ben Smeltzer single to left was misplayed. Hohne reached on an error in the fourth and scored on another error.
“We get a senior leader, we get a lot of speed out of him in the outfield, and we just get a great competitor,” Reid said of Hohne. “The kid’s a gamer. He wants to get out here. He wants to compete.”
Sacred Heart scored in the third when Chance Spangler singled up the middle to score Smith. In the fourth inning, three errors and a single brought home three runs before Tanguay’s double added another. Smeltzer scored on a wild pitch.