By John Bassetti
The deadline for averting a threatened Aug. 2 government default looms, Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is approaching (July 31) and temperatures are expected to be near 100 today.
Is there any good news?
Yes, thanks to a seven-run first inning that helped settle the outcome and left no lingering as the Astro Falcons defeated the Michiana Scrappers, 16-0, in 31/2 innings via the mercy rule Wednesday night at Cene Park in the CABA 18-and-under World Series.
“Actually, we’ve been swinging it pretty good,” Astros manager Andy Timko said of the win — one of three outcomes via mercy-rule since Monday.
Chuck Seacrist threw a five-hit, four-strikeout game for the Astros, who were 4-0 in pool play and now 1-0 in bracket play of the tournament in which aluminum bats are used.
“He threw a good game for us when we needed it,” Timko said of Seacrist, one of 11 pick-ups for the CABA. “We got enough pitching lined up so that one guy gets one game,” Timko said of the roster’s healthy state.
The Falcons play Team Ohio (3-1, 1-0) today at 8 p.m.
“We [had to] come from behind,” Timko said of the Astro’s struggle against Team Ohio in the recent Connie Mack tournament. “We were down 4-0 in the sixth inning,” he said of his team’s win in nine innings. “They’ve got a good ballclub.”
Michiana coach Brian Blondell said that the first inning dictated the game.
“When you hit the leadoff hitter [Astro’s James Coates] and then they get a couple hits and score seven runs, it makes a big difference.”
Of playing their sixth game in three days, Blondell said that his pitching was suffering.
“When you’re on your No. 7 pitcher [Andrew Price] and you get down by seven it’s really difficult to fight back,” Blondell said of the fact that Price has only pitched four innings for Michiana all summer.
“Our No. 1 pitcher [Taylor Krugh] who is going to the University of North Carolina-Asheville had back spasms and is out for the weekend and our No. 3 pitcher [Jake Althouse] is out, but we’ll continue to go to battle. We’re still good enough to compete, but you’ve got to throw strikes and do some things differently and not get down by seven in the first inning against a very good team.”
In the first inning, G.J. Senchak’s hit loaded the bases with no outs after Coates was hit and Brendan Cox singled. Dan Popio walked to bring Coates in with the game’s first run.
Dan Mioni’s triple to right scored Cox, Senchak and Popio to make it 4-0. Sean Lubin’s single put the Falcons up 5-0. That’s when Price was replaced by Nic Sampognaro. John Beatty’s flyout to left field was the game’s first putout. Tyler Gentile’s double brought home Tisdale and Lubin for a 7-0 advantage prior to Coates’ groundout to end the inning.
Michiana started off the second inning with Jordan Peterson’s single, but the next batter, Drake Fisher, lined out to Seacrist, who threw to first baseman Wyatt Montgomery, who caught Peterson off the bag for a double play. The Scrappers did load the bases before Christopher Woodruff flied out.
In the bottom of the second, Sampognaro’s wild pitch and walk to Popio loaded the bases before Mioni’s hit scored Cox for an 8-0 lead. Tisdale’s sacrifice fly to right allowed Senchak to score for a 9-0 advantage. Popio scored on a fielder’s choice for a 10-0 bulge.
In the bottom of the third, Montgomery doubled and Coates walked before Cox’s hit loaded the bases.Senchak’s hit scored Montgomery and Coates, then Cox scored for a 13-0 lead.
Courtesy runner Joel Hake and Matt Unkefer got on base and Tisdale’s hit loaded the sacks before a passed ball scored Hake for a 14-0 lead. Lubin’s double scored two.
The game was not without some defense as Senchak had a fine catch of Jordan Hinton’s long fly to left.