The Smith Post bats were once again blazing on Friday night, with Ilion Post becoming the Rome squad’s latest victim in a 15-1 five-inning, mercy-rule shortened loss in a District V American Legion baseball contest at Rome Free Academy Stadium.
But the ones standing out the most for the Smith squad that put up 12 hits in the contest were Andrew DeBlasiis, Jordan Koons and Alex Rudiak, with the trio combining for six runs, seven hits and 12 RBIs.
The victory also jumped Smith to an 8-1 record on the season.
DeBlasiis did the most damage early on to give his team a huge advantage after the first two innings. He first got Smith on the scoreboard by docking a long ball to right field for a two-run double in the first to score Koons and Steven Eychner for a 2-0 lead. That shot wasn’t enough for him though because in the next inning, with the bases loaded on a full count, he drilled a towering blast that went over the left field fence for his first career grand slam in American Legion competition as Smith broke away for a 7-0 edge.
"He (Brian Maine) threw a fastball on a 3-2 count in the zone," DeBlasiis said. "Right off the bat, I knew it was a gapper and the ball went over the fence instead. It’s good to get one."
DeBlasiis tallied three hits in the contest, finishing a triple short of the cycle, and recorded six RBIs.
Along with DeBlasiis’ grand salami, Smith brought across nine runs in the inning on seven hits off two pitchers, the starter Maine and his reliever Mark Spina.
The Rome squad also had every batter reach base in the game and score at least once.
DeBlasiis added that having the lineup produce from top to bottom is essential as well as getting ahead early in as big a way as they did on Friday.
"I think we really put them in the dirt with those first 11 runs," he said. "It’s hard for a team to bounce back when you score like that early."
What also has been important to Smith’s success has been the emergence of Koons.
The right-handed hitter began the season in a hole, carrying a batting average below .100 through the first six games, prompting Smith head coach Tony Abone Jr. to switch him from the leadoff spot to the bottom of the lineup.
Since then, Koons has now come to life at the dish in the past three contests, hitting 6-for-8, and finished Friday’s game with two doubles and two RBIs back in his familiar leadoff spot.
"I’ve been really working on my stance with Coach," he said.
"I kind of reconstructed it a little bit with my hands. It’s a lot quicker than what it was. Everything is right on cue, so far. Staying healthy and staying strong."
Rudiak put up two hits and completely slammed the game’s door shut in the third by drilling a three-run triple, his first of the season, in the third to make it 15-0.
The Rome Catholic graduate also had a one-run single in the second, finishing with four RBIs and scoring twice while raising his season average to .417.
Ryan Reilley also had two hits and scored a run, Eychner scored two times and brought in a run, and Drew DeBlasiis scored a run and recorded an RBI, as well.
Ed Zakrzewski also had one of his better outings on the mound en route to his third win of the season.
He gave up an unearned run in the fifth when Xavier Schafer scored off an error and allowed four hits and four strikeouts.
"That was a better outing than the last time he started," said Abone.
"He had better movement on his fastball, he had better bite on his curveball. It seemed like when they hit it, it was sweet spot stuff. It was at the end of the bat and on the hands."
Smith’s next league game will be against unbeaten Whitestown Post at SUNYIT on Tuesday night at 5:30.
Maine took the loss for Ilion on the mound as the squad’s record dropped to 4-5 in the league and 6-7 overall.