May 8, 2003
Rome Catholic Thumped
By Howie Mansfield
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Holland Patent rolls over Redwings 13-1 in non-league matchup
ROME — On a picture perfect day at DeLuitis Field at Griffis Park, the Rome Catholic varsity baseball team fell apart at the seams. Sophomore pitcher Tim Rak didn’t survive the second inning and the team’s offensive punch was silenced as Holland Patent dominated the Redwings 13-1 on April 30 in a non-league game. Golden Knights pitcher Brody Gonger was masterful, shutting down the potent Rome Catholic hitters in the victory. Gonger went the distance, giving up a lone run while striking out 11 Redwings. “We just didn’t play a good baseball game,” said Rome Catholic head coach Jerry Fiorini. “We started a pitcher who hadn’t pitched for us before and he was fine for a while, but they got to him.” Rak retired the side in order in the top of the first inning with very little trouble. In the bottom of the inning, senior second baseman Matt Spellicy reached base on a Holland Patent throwing error. Spellicy, running on the pitch, was erased after senior Geoff Snyder popped up to Gonger and was thrown out at second trying to get back. This inning started with potential and was quickly squashed.
Rome Catholic was hammered in the second inning by the Holland Patent bats and a number of errors. With the bases loaded and one out, Gonger singled, driving in two runs and giving his team a 2-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed the third run to score before Rak walked Holland Patent’s Mike Altieri. Gonger scored on a single to left field by leadoff man Chris DeMetro, lifting the Golden Knights to a 4-0 lead. Rak was done for the day, as Coach Fiorini replaced him with junior Chad Carstensen.
The second inning continued with Carstensen giving up two hits and four more runs. After 11 batters came to the plate in the inning, the Golden Knights took a commanding 8-0 lead into the bottom of the inning. Gonger was in control on the mound, baffling Redwing batters and coasting easily through the game. Holland Patent scored on a rundown play in the third inning, and again off a throwing error in the fourth inning to extend its lead to 10-0. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rome Catholic finally scored. With one out, senior catcher John Cawl doubled to center, giving the Redwings a base runner. Gonger threw the next pitch to the backstop and Cawl raced home with Rome Catholic’s first and only run of the contest.
The Golden Knights continued their dominance in the fifth. After a hit batter and balk on Carstensen, Gonger doubled to drive in another run with no one out. A throwing error allowed another run to score moments later. A wild pitch and an infield hit gave Holland Patent to a 13-1 lead. “We let our pitchers down with our defense,” Coach Fiorini said. “Everything seemed to snowball. When you have no defense, you can’t expect to win.”
The only bright spot for the Redwings on the day was the pitching of sophomore T.J. Engle in the sixth and seventh innings. Engle made quick work of the Golden Knights in the sixth and seventh, keeping the Holland Patent batters quiet in the end.
Rome Catholic managed only four hits against Holland Patent and was quite discouraged after the game. But Coach Fiorini put the game in perspective. “We are a Class D team and they are in Class B. Last year we beat them pretty bad and this year, they did it to us,” he said. “We have a lot of young guys playing and we know there will be a learning process. I’m more concerned about our league record. We’re 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the league. We just need to keep our heads up and worry about our league.”