An abundance of offense was on display at Sandy Beach Recreational Park as St. Marys baseball won 21-11 in five innings over Ridgway Thursday afternoon.
St. Marys scored three or more runs in every inning. Ridgway scored in four of its five innings. The 11 runs in the game was Ridgway's largest output of the season.
"We continue to make strides," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "If we continue to make strides, I think we'll be more competitive than we have been lately. If you play St. Marys, you got to hit every inning because they have a good-hitting team."
St. Marys coach Tony Azzato said the hitting was strong.
"That's what we hope for and expect every game is to have that type of offensive output," Azzato said. "We kept hitting, we put the bat on the ball, we made them make the plays. We hit it well."
Jordan Weinzierl hit the first of his three doubles with one out in the first inning to deep center field. Weinzierl scored the game's first run on a single from Kevin Hoy and Hoy came around on a double from Ryan Uhl. After a single from Branden Tyger, Brandon Vollmer hit a sacrifice fly to score Uhl and put the Dutch up 3-0.
The middle of the lineup from St. Marys was dominant. Weinzierl was 4-for-4 with three doubles, four RBI and four runs scored. Hoy was 4-for-5 with one double, five RBI and four runs scored. Uhl was 3-for-3 with three doubles, five RBI and two runs scored. Azzato said it was a good sign to see contributions from more members of the batting order, including with the hitting of Tyger, who finished 1-for-2.
"Everyone expects Jordan, Kevin, Ryan to hit the ball and they did, but it was good to see kids like Tyger, Brandon hit the ball well. Our guys put the bat on the ball, we played well," he said.
Ridgway answered back in the home half of the first inning to take the lead. Jesse Reynolds led off with a single in between shortstop and third. Kevin Kilhoffer was hit by a pitch and Josh Mitchell roped a single to score Reynolds. D.J. Skraba doubled to tie the game as Kilhoffer and Mitchell raced home. After a strikeout, Ben Jaques singled to right center field to score Skraba and Jesse Gardner also reached with a single. After a flyout, Lou Stilwell singled home Jaques to put the Elkers ahead 5-3 after the first inning.
The lead would go back to St. Marys in the top of the second. Justin Quiggle opened the inning with a triple. Bob Vollmer walked and a Weinzierl double plated both runners to tie the game. Hoy reached on an error by Ridgway and Uhl capitalized with a double of his own to score both Weinzierl and Hoy. Tyger plated Uhl with a single and the fifth run of the inning to put the Dutch up 8-5.
After Ridgway was held scoreless in the second inning, the Dutch added three more runs. Quiggle reached on a 1-out walk, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Weinzierl doubled home Quiggle and would score on a single from Hoy. Uhl doubled home Hoy to put St. Marys ahead 11-5 entering the bottom of the third.
Ridgway notched a run in the third inning. Jaques walked to lead off the inning and Gardner singled him to second. After two popouts, Reynolds singled to center field, scoring Jaques to make the lead 11-6.
Brandon Vollmer walked to lead off the inning. After a flyout, Greg Copelli was hit by a pitch. St. Marys flew out again and Vollmer and Copelli moved up to second and third on a passed ball. They both scored on a single from Bob Vollmer. Weinzierl was hit by a pitch, then Hoy drove home Bob Vollmer with a single as the Dutch led 14-6 entering the home half of the fourth.
Mitchell walked to lead off the fourth for Ridgway. After a strikeout, Dickant walked and Jaques hit into a fielder's choice as Mitchell was retired at home. Gardner singled home both Dickant and Jaques to make the margin 14-8.
Brandon Vollmer walked to lead off the fifth, Luke Schreiber and Copelli were both hit by a pitch to load the bases. Dave Aul walked to scored Bob Vollmer. Robert Watts hit into a fielder's choice where Schreiber was safe at home after a Ridgway misplay. Weinzierl kept the offense going with a single to bring Copelli home and a Hoy 2-run double scored both Watts and Aul. Uhl hit a sacrifice fly to plate Weinzierl. Bob Vollmer ended the 7-run outburst with a single to score Hoy.
St. Marys had a 21-8 lead entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but Ridgway kept hitting and nearly kept the game going into the sixth inning, avoiding the 10-run rule. Reynolds reached on a St. Marys error. Kilhoffer hit into a fielder's choice, but St. Marys was unable to record an out; that left runners on first and second. Skraba grounded out to score Kilhoffer and put the lead at 21-10. Dickant scored to plate Mitchell and make the margin 21-11, but the Dutch were able to close the door and pick up the win with the 10-run rule.
"Those last innings, we got to put teams away," Azzato said. "Three errors in the fifth inning there, that's going to come back and haunt us. Luckily, we were up as many as we were."
Mitchell was 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a double along with two runs scored. Skraba had three RBI and a run scored; Kilhoffer had two runs scored as well. Jaques had three runs scored and two stolen bases. Gardner had a 3-for-3 day with two RBI.
"We moved some people around, we're still looking to see what we've got and where we can put people," Morelli said. "I think that's finally coming into focus. The key right now is to find that combination in the lineup where we can get some runs and keep sustaining those runs like we did it in the first inning. We have to keep it going, we can't do it and then stop. We're showing some promise, we have to keep working at it and prove it. I think the kids are gaining some confidence too with our hitting."
St. Marys had a quartet of pitchers making their season debuts at the varsity level. Dalton Kline got the start and went three innings, walking two and striking out four.
"I was very pleased with the pitching," Azzato said. "Dalton Kline, aside from the half an inning he threw against Coudersport before the rain, that was his first varsity start. Mitchell Meyer, that was his first time on the mound at the varsity level. Rocco, that's the first time he's thrown. Justin, that was the first time he threw. All four of those guys, that was the first time they threw and I couldn't ask for anything more. The biggest thing was they threw strikes. For four guys with their first time pitching this year, I'll take that any day."
Ridgway (2-7) is scheduled to finish its suspended game with Elk County Catholic today at Berwind Park after the conclusion of the ECC-St. Marys varsity game to start at 4:15 p.m.