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Eagles upend Spot, improve to 2-0
Through two games, the Cocalico baseball team has done the three things that can win a lot of games. The Eagles have pitched well, hit a ton and limited their defensive mistakes.
The result is they are off to a 2-0 start and have already equaled their win total of a year ago.
Tuesday afternoon at home in the Section Two opener vs. Garden Spot, the Eagles won their second straight game using those key ingredients.
Pitcher Brandon Martin held the Spartans to two runs and seven hits while the Eagle defense committed just one error. Offensively, Cocalico received some timely hitting, particularly from the bottom of the lineup, as the Eagles cruised to an impressive 7-2 victory.
“That’s kind of the name of the game,” first-year Cocalico Coach Mike Bertolino said of his team’s execution of all three phases of the game. “We have a lot of guys with experience…we got a lot of hungry guys. We got some guys in that room who the past couple years have been really hard for them.”
“We are a team that has something to prove,” he continued. “And we are going out and trying to prove it every day. Our players worked extremely hard in the gym. We had a lot of indoor practices and we have really maximized our time. We’ve been working really, really hard and I think the guys are starting to see the harder you work, the more rewards this game gives you.”
Tuesday, the Eagles spotted Garden Spot a 2-0 lead in the top of the first but answered right back with two in the bottom of the frame. Cocalico then took the lead for good with two more runs in the second and three more in the third to pull away.
“Offensively we have a ton of confidence,” Bertolino said. We have guys, some of them have been playing varsity baseball for three years so we are not really a team that gets down on ourselves, especially knowing how confident we are offensively. We got down 4-0 to Lancaster Mennonite (last week) and I don’t even think the guys blinked. We just have this belief that we are going to score runs and as long as our pitching and defense keep it close we are going to have a real shot.”
Senior Jake Terry led the offense with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Alex Buckwalter, Martin, Mike Dueck and Colin Myers also knocked in key runs for Cocalico.
“We are very calm and we are very confident and so far we’ve been pretty explosive,” Bertolino said. “Tonight was a real test for us. Garden Spot is a really good team and I have a lot of respect for them. We were fortunate. We got ourselves into some scoring opportunities and we were able to take advantage of them with some big hits from some of our guys at the bottom of the lineup. That’s what you need to be successful, especially against good teams. You need to get some production from your six-seven-eight-nine guys…and we did that tonight.”
Last Thursday in the season opener at home vs. Lancaster Mennonite, everyone hit for Cocalico as the Eagles pounded out 14 hits in a 19-4 drubbing of the Blazers.
After surrendering four runs in the first, Myers settled in and blanked the Blazers the rest of the way. Offensively, Jeremy Marshall and Terry both clubbed home runs to pace the Eagles.
“Thus far I’m very happy with our start, but we have perspective,” Bertolino said Tuesday. “Granted, we’d much rather be 2-0 than 0-2 or 1-1, but I told our guys after the game tonight, in the grand scheme of things what we’ve accomplished is we’ve won two high school baseball games. That’s it. We have games from (Wednesday) until Saturday, and I’m sure everyone else is in that same kind of scheduling crunch. One of the things that’s so great to see is our guys are excited about it. They love the idea of playing five games in-a-row, and as a coach that’s really encouraging to see. Like I’ve told the guys, I’m not watching a team come together, I’m watching a family come together and that’s really powerful. Our guys are really pushing each other and holding each other accountable.”
Cocalico will look to go 3-0 Wednesday when the Eagles travel to Elizabethtown to face the Bears. The Eagles will be back home Thursday to face Lebanon before playing at Ephrata Friday (7 p.m.) and at Exeter Township Saturday at 1:30 p.m.