Sunday afternoon in its doubleheader sweep of a youthful St. Mary’s squad in Charles and St. Mary’s Baseball league action at Rainbow Construction Field, the reigning champion Western Charles got ample hitting, pitching and defense from its core group of veterans.
Western Charles (4-6) got solid outings from starting pitchers Pat Mahoney and Bill DeAtley and both shortstop Tyler Summers and catcher Chris Blondin made plays with their gloves and both swung the bat well. Mahoney limited St. Mary’s to two unearned runs in a 7-2 victory in the opener then DeAtley allowed four runs as the Natty Boh’s pulled away late to take the nightcap, 15-4, in six innings.
“It was really a great team win,” said Summers, who went 4-for-5 with six runs batted in on Sunday. “We got great pitching from Pat and Bill and we played really good defense behind them. We came up with some clutch hits when we needed them. It was the type of doubleheader we needed to help us get our season turned around.”
St. Mary’s (2-5) scored two unearned runs in the top of the first against Mahoney in the opener, but Western Charles responded with one run in the third against St. Mary’s starter Ethan Ledig, three unearned runs against him in the fourth and another run in the fifth for a 5-2 lead. Jason Boyd homered off reliever Brandon Mills in a two-run sixth.
St. Mary’s started quickly in the second game as Kasey Winegardner singled and Logan Brock followed with a double off the fence in left center. But Winegardner was erased at home when Summers’ relay throw to Blondin arrived in time for the catcher to apply the tag for the first out. Chase O’Dell followed with a single that scored Brock, but St. Mary’s could not add another.
After making a stellar defensive play to start the game, one of several he would make in the nightcap, Summers promptly led off the home half of the first with a solo homer off St. Mary’s starter Jordan Faunce. Western Charles scored three times in the second for a 4-1 lead, but St. Mary’s responded against DeAtley in the third when O’Dell belted a three-run homer to left center.
St. Mary’s Phil McCarthy and Ledig both started the fourth with singles, but Clarke was unable to advance the runners when he popped up his sac bunt attempt that was caught in foul ground by Blondin. DeAtley retired the next two batters and what had begun as a promising inning for St. Mary’s proved to be a costly, pivotal one.
In the home half of the fourth, Western Charles chased Clarke when Summers belted a bases clearing triple then scored on a wild pitch. Reliever Drew Weller walked three batters — two with two outs — then yielded a two-run double to Johnny Kerhes. Western Charles got another run in the fifth on a sac fly to left by Summers then ended it when Blondin belted a two-run homer in the sixth.
“We’ve got a young team and they’re definitely getting a learning experience this summer,” said St. Mary’s coach Steve Zumpano, who played in the league for 20 seasons. “I thought Ethan threw extremely well in the first game. He’s been our number one all summer. We had one or two mistakes each game and you can’t do that against a veteran team like Western Charles.”
In the earlier twin-bill at Rainbow Construction Field, Pomfret (9-1) maintained its firm hold on first place by upending La Plata twice by the identical score of 14-2. The Pirates loom as the early favorite to capture the CHASM title this summer, although their lone loss was against defending champion Western Charles. La Plata, another youthful squad in a league of veterans, slipped to 1-8 on the season.
In the doubleheader at Chancellors Run Park on Sunday afternoon, St. Mary’s Legion Post 255 (5-3) and Indian Head (6-4) literally played to a draw. Indian Head took the opener, 9-3, to briefly leap past St. Mary’s and into second place in the CHASM standings. But Post 255 took the nightcap by the same 9-3 margin and regained second place heading into this weekend’s action.