Swanton received a solid starting performance on the mound from Noah Johnston, and made the most out of a 12-hit attack to put away Pettisville, 17-1, in a five inning affair at Swanton Tuesday.
The victory kept the Bulldogs unbeaten at 4-0 on the young season.
“We’re getting better,” explained Bulldog coach Tim McCarthy. “Early on I like the way we were swinging the bat and where we were offensively, but you know as well as I (like) that, big games are won on pitching and defense. The pitching part was better today. We got ahead for the most part and threw a good amount of strikes, now if we get the defense part, then this group has a chance to do something special.”
Swanton got to Blackbird starter Christian Barhite in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Roman Epley struck out but reached first when strike three was wild.
A sacrifice and passed ball put him at third where Jordon Nyler’s double down the left field line put the Bulldogs on top.
Michael Lawniczak’s two-out grounder through the infield plated a run and after a walk and hit batter loaded the bases, a dropped inning ending pop up handed the Bulldogs two more.
Swanton put the game away in the second, putting an eight spot on the board, courtesy of run scoring singles from Nyler, Lawniczak, Marek Spiess, Brennan Spiess and Gunnar Oakes, to take a 12-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Johnston put in three good innings of work, allowing just one hit.
The Blackbirds put two on with a walk and a hit batter in the second with two out when John Rufenacht bounced a single through the left side.
However, Brennan Spiess’ throw cut down the Pettisville runner trying to score from second at the plate to end the threat.
“Noah threw well, it was his first start of the season,” said McCarthy. “And we’re expecting big things out of him. We lost 94 innings from the mound since last year so we’re still trying to figure out the pitching aspect of things.”
Epley’s RBI double and Bryce McComb’s two run single got three more Swanton runs in the third to bump the score to 15-0.
Pettisville marked a tally in the fourth against McComb on an error, a base on balls, a wild pitch and a balk.
Lawniczak worked a scoreless fifth for the Bulldogs.
“Physically and athletically the talent is there,” said McCarthy. “The mental part of the game is big and we are doing everything we can to improve that. There’s walls up that we have to break down. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it, we want to make a tournament run. It has been a long time since Swanton has been on the map baseball wise and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Weather permitting, the Bulldogs host Patrick Henry Thursday and North Central in a doubleheader Saturday. Pettisville hosts Hilltop today before traveling to North Central tomorrow and Evergreen for a doubleheader on Saturday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]