Vincent Addona wasted no time getting Green Hope out of a slump. On the third pitch the Falcons’ leadoff batter saw during Thursday’s home game against Panther Creek, Addona homered to right field.
First, the floodgates opened as the Falcons built a 17-2 lead through three innings. Then, the heavens opened as rain suspended play until Friday, where the game completed with the same score.
Green Hope had lost three straight entering the contest after winning the first 11 games of the season.
“I think we’ve scored a combined eight or nine runs in those three (losses), so to more than double that in the first three innings is a big boost to team morale,” Addona said.
Turning point: Green Hope (12-3, 4-3) led 3-0 after the first inning but the game was put out of reach in the second when 11 Falcons batters came to the plate. Green Hope increased the lead to 8-0 before Panther Creek (8-5, 4-3) had gotten to its No. 8 hitter.
The Falcons brought 14 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring nine more to answer the Catamounts’ two runs brought across in the top half.
Putting up numbers: Addona, a William & Mary recruit, had two RBIs, Troy Maslowski had three, Sean McQuillan had one, Matt Duckworth had one and Drew Hegeman added three.
“Everything clicked today,” said Hegeman, a junior first baseman. “We were 11-0 to start (the season) and now we can start a new rally.”
The other seven Falcons runs were brought across on errors and wild pitches.
“They made a couple of mistakes, but we hit the ball hard. We hit line drives all over the place,” Green Hope coach Mike Miragliuolo said. “I was just happy to see us get back to swinging the bats, because the last couple of games we’ve been leaving too many guys on, not getting enough hits.”
For Panther Creek, Ben LaSpaluto and Wilson Jolly had one RBI each.
What worked: Green Hope threw strikes and got ahead in counts, which helped it face just 21 batters in five innings.
Needs improvement: Panther Creek made seven errors, walked five Green Hope batters and hit three more.
Coach Daniel Hall couldn’t quite put his finger on why it all went wrong, but said consistency has been a problem this season.
“We just got out of synch. Unfortunately, lately, we’ve been out of synch a lot lately,” Hall said. “When we’re in synch we look pretty good.”
Out of bounds: When the game resumed Friday, Green Hope’s Nicholas West returned to the mound and the plate for the first time since taking a fastball to the face on April 2 against Holly Springs. West, who Miragliuolo said suffered a broken nasal cavity and fractured cheek, retired five of the six batters he faced in relief of Chris Joyner, who allowed just two hits.
West played with a protective guard on his batting helmet