Four innings was all it took for American Studies to top IN-Tech Academy, braving a chilly 46-degree matchup with some hot bats.
After falling to Evander just two days prior, American Studies answered with a dominant 14-1 victory this time around.
“We needed (the win) very badly after the tough loss,” Senators head coach Pete Nizzari said. “Last game we hit the ball hard and into a lot of double plays. That didn’t happen so much today.”
It was a slender 3-0 Senators’ lead before heir monstrous top of the third inning, which hit the ground running after a timely three-run single by Ari Wigder. The rest was history as American Studies sent 17 batters to the plate, scoring 11 of them.
“It definitely felt good to get a win,” said Casey Press, the Senators’ winning pitcher. “Especially to put up a big number like that after our last game. It puts us back on track and gets us looking ahead.”
At least according to the Senators, it was their hitting that sealed the deal.
“We hit the ball well, that’s it,” Nizzari said. “The pitcher we were facing was an average high school pitcher, but we hit the ball well, and if you put the bat on the ball, good things will happen.”
In just four innings, the Senators tallied 14 RBIs, nine of which came from Press, Wigder and Anderson Kovesci, who knocked in three each.
“My captains told me to change some things with my swing,” said Kovesci, the Senators’ sophomore centerfielder. “It worked. Before today, I wasn’t hitting very well.”
Kovesci snapped out of his mini slump with three singles, three RBIs, three runs-scored, two stolen bases and a walk.
Despite his breakout game, Kovesci was far more pleased with the victory over any personal achievements.
“The win means a lot,” he said. “We want to go all the way this year, and we want to have a good (playoff) seed. It’s all about the morale, and this game established that. We need to just keep winning, it’s as simple as that.”
Press was lights-out on the mound, too. In four innings of work, the senior collected five strikeouts while only surrendering two hits and one run.
“I just had to get consistent and get into my rhythm,” Press said. “I ended up throwing strikes, that’s what I’m looking for.”
Press’ biggest challenge may have been staying warm during his team’s 45-minute top of the third at the plate.
“I tried to run back and forth during the top half of the inning, but it is very tough,” Press said. “I had to try to stay loose and stay in my rhythm. I couldn’t get outside of myself.”
Needless to say, Nizzari was impressed with his man on the hill.
“Press was very, very, very good,” Nizzari said. “He’s one of my top pitchers and one of my top players. When Casey is on, he can beat anybody. If we’re going to go anywhere this year as a team, Casey and Ari are going to need to play like I know they can.”
The Senators followed up their lopsided win over IN-Tech with a similar rout last Friday knocking off the Panthers again, this time 12-0.
The quartet of Caleb Auerbach, Dashiel Handler, Sam Brody and Kovesci each knocked in two runs, and winning pitcher Stephen Nichol allowed just one hit and struck out seven to get the win. That allowed the Senators to improve to 2-1 on the season.
The large victories may have proved the rest of league right.
“We have very high expectations because we have everybody back from last year,” Nizzari said.
“A lot of teams picked us to go all the way.”
Still, the coach urged his team to not get ahead of themselves.
“The reality of baseball is that you have to play one game at a time,” Nizzari said. “We have a nice team — If we make the right plays and the pitching is good. We’ll be OK, but it’s a long season.”