The Sacred Heart Gremlins brought out hot bats to counter the cold, windy weather on Monday. Sacred Heart (1-0) banged out 14 hits and grabbed a season-opening 14-4 five-inning win over the Ottervile Eagles at Centennial Park.
Sacred Heart coach Steve Goodwin was pleased with how his young hitters put the bat on the ball.
“I thought Blake Nichols, Caleb Tanguay and Clint Spangler, some of the younger guys, really played good for us today. It’s their first game, they’ve got some nerves, and two of them are freshman. I thought they hit the ball really well today,” he said.
Otterville (2-2) got a quick run off Sacred Heart starter Nick Langston in the top of the first. Ryan Benny made it 1-0 with a single to right that scored P.J. Grimes.
Sacred Heart countered with three runs in its half of the first off Otterville’s Jacob Gaskill. Cale Spangler had an RBI hit, Caleb Morrison scored on a balk and Nichols singled home a run for a 3-1 advantage after one inning.
The Gremlins got their second double play of the game in the second, stopping Otterville’s scoring chance.
Three Otterville errors in the bottom of the second helped the Gremlins add to their lead. Morrison drove home the first run with one of his three hits, and then Tanguay hustled home on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.
Morrison came home to score on an Eagle error, then Nichols capped the scoring with a double that boosted the Sacred Heart lead to 7-1. Nichols finished his big game with four hits and four RBIs.
“He hit the ball hard today. That’s something that I hope becomes a habit,” said Goodwin.
The combination of shaky fielding and cold bats forced Otterville to play catch-up for the entire game.
“We didn’t help ourselves out any with some of the errors we had behind our pitching. We couldn’t get the bats going like we had in some previous games,” said Otterville coach Lucas Knipp.
The Eagles cut into the Sacred Heart lead in the fourth, using aggressive baserunning and capitalizing on Gremlin errors to plate three runs.
Paul Oswald hustled to the plate from second base on a pair of Gremlin throwing errors, and Landen Smith drove home another run on a groundout. Devin Rockett finished the scoring, scrambling home on another error to cut the Sacred Heart lead to 7-4.
The Gremlins answered the Eagle rally with six runs in their half of the fourth. Rock Curry had an RBI single, Clint Spangler had a two-run double and Nichols added a run-scoring double to make it 11-4.
Tanguay drove home a run with an infield hit and then scored the final run of the inning on an error to boost the Gremlin lead to 13-4 after four innings.
Curry took over on the mound in the top of the fifth and set down the Eagles in order, striking out one batter.
“I thought Langston pitched good for a first game. I thought Rock had a really good inning in the fifth to finish it,” said Goodwin.
Sacred Heart finished off the win in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases on two walks and a hit batsman. That brought Nichols to the plate, and he delivered a long single that sent home the final run of the game.