Offense struggles in loss to Notre Dame
Salisbury head coach Mike Pochron is aware that the Falcons’ bats may struggle at times. It’s been evident at times throughout their first seven games.
But it was never more evident than Saturday’s game against Notre Dame (Green Pond). It didn’t help that the Falcons faced one of the league’s top pitchers.
Notre Dame’s Steven Luke pitched six innings of shutout, one-hit baseball, as the Crusaders defeated the Falcons (3-4 overall; 2-3 in Colonial League) 6-0 at Salisbury High School. Luke recorded 14 strikeouts in six innings, while Patrick Flynn struck out the side when he entered the game in the seventh inning.
“He may be the best pitcher in the league,” Pochron said of Luke. “He’s tough. There’s no question about it. We knew he’d be tough. I was hoping we’d put the ball into play and everything.”
Salisbury’s lone hit came in the third inning when Timothy Schware’s bloop single found the infield over Luke’s outstretched hand. That was the Falcons’ best opportunity at generating any offense as Schware led off the frame with a hit.
But two strikeouts and a fly out left Schware stranded at first base. And Notre Dame capitalized in the next inning.
Already leading 2-0 after two runs in the first inning, the Crusaders doubled that lead in the fourth. Richard Mueller and Nicholas Vonelli led off with back-to-back singles, followed by a bunt single from Jake Yurkovitch to load the bases. Mueller scored on a balk in the next at-bat, and Collin Quintano’s RBI-single brought home another run.
“It’s the same story,” Pochron said. “The other day against Dieruff, we bunched a couple of hits but we only scored one run. But we got a real good pitching performance from Quinn Warmkessel. He shut them out. Otherwise we wouldn’t have won that game. But basically that’s what it has been—a difficulty getting runners on base. It was the same thing with our loss to Wilson last Monday.”
To make things worse, the Falcons’ No. 2 pitcher, Hayden Kuhns, injured his hand in the third inning when a line drive was hit back to him. He had given up just three runs in three innings before the injury.
“If it’s anything where they put anything on his hand, it’s going to be rough,” Pochron said. “We shall see. He pitched the Moravian Academy game for us last year on varsity, but he pitched mostly JV.”
Patrick Benolken drove in another Crusader run in the sixth inning to make it a 5-0 lead. He would later score on a Falcon error. Despite the error, Saturday’s game was one of Salisbury’s better games defensively this season.
“Today was one of our better defensive days,” Pochron said. “We actually played well and made the plays that we needed to for the most part. And the pitchers really didn’t do a bad job, we just didn’t give them any support.”