HP never looks back after fast start against Westmoreland
WESTMORELAND — The Holland Patent baseball team utilized an early offensive jump in the first inning to propel themselves to an 11-2 Center State Conference crossover victory Westmoreland on a breezy and sunny Tuesday morning.
With both teams suffering losses the night before, longtime HP head coach Scott Parsons noted how important it was to pile up hits early on. The Bulldogs lost, 10-8, to Frankfort-Schuyler, while the Golden Knights lost, 9-3, to Camden.
“We didn’t play too well yesterday,” said Parsons. “When you’re coming off a loss, you have to find more confidence. We get those three runs early and we get a little more relaxed and it carries over to other areas.”
The biggest factor that faces the smaller schools like Westmoreland and Holland Patent is who to pitch when playing a condensed schedule.
“We’re playing seven games in eight days,” said Westmoreland head coach Paul Engelhart. “I’ve got 12 kids on my roster. Nine of my guys throw, so we’ll be pitching by committee. It happens every year and you just have to make the best of it.”
Earning the win on the mound for the Golden Knights was sophomore Jake Beer, who gave up five hits in five innings, gave up one run and struck out six. At the plate, the pitcher scored one of the Golden Knights’ three runs in the third inning.
“He had to fight today,” said Parsons, admitting that his starting pitcher struggled at times on the mound. “He did a good job.”
Dan Hurley took the loss for the Bulldogs, giving up 12 hits and eight runs in five innings.
The Bulldogs were limited to five hits, including a triple by Noah Bowen in the third inning. Josh Drake scored in the fifth inning off of Andrew Scalise’s single and Mike Sweeney was drove in by Zach St. Peter’s single to left field in the sixth.
Andrew Ingersoll scored the first run of the game, coming home on an error. Jeff Sobel was driven in by Ryan Sobel’s left field single to make it 2-0, and Garrison Villeneuve hit a ball deep into centerfield to score Conner Stalker.
The Golden Knights doubled their lead in the third inning with three runs, including a home run from Stalker on a blast well past the left field fence.
With two outs, Villeneuve singled and stole second base and scored on Beer’s hopper into right field. Beer scored on a deep shot to right field by Matt Kusmierczak before the Bulldogs’ Bower hustled deep into center field for the inning’s final out on Ingersoll.
For insurance, HP tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning. Jeff Sobel doubled and both Jeff Sobel and Nick Palmer scored on an error by Bulldogs shortstop Mike Sweeney. Ryan Sobel sent a single shot into left field that was dropped by the shortstop to score the two base runners. Palmer singled and stole second and third base and scored on Villeneuve’s blast to left field. Stalker was walked and bumped to second due to Ryan Sobel being struck by a pitch from Sweeney and scored on Beer’s hit to shortstop.
Kusmierczak doubled and stole third. Despite a sliding effort deep in center field by Bowen, Kusmierczak scored to cap off the scoring.
“We’re starting to swing the bat and not just watching pitches go by,” said Parsons about the sudden surge of offense. “We’re starting to get into a better groove and the pitching’s helped because a lot of schools don’t have a lot of deep pitching. I was happy with that effort.”
Engelhart noted that the Bulldogs’ fielding and ability to read plays were not up to par, but with a few days of practice, they’ll be “working on it.”
With the win, the Golden Knights are 2-1 in the league and 3-2 overall. Westmoreland drops to a 2-1 CSC record and a 2-3 mark.
Weather-permitting, Holland Patent takes on Frankfort-Schuyler on Thursday at 11 a.m., while Westmoreland will head to Herkimer for a doubleheader in the Herkimer tourney on Saturday.