By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE The host Sullivan West Bulldogs earned their first win of the 2011 scholastic baseball season on Monday afternoon by shutting out the Fallsburg Comets, 8-0, at the Lions Field in Jeffersonville.
After taking a 3-0 lead in the early innings, SW (1-0) added five insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
E.J. Franskevicz ripped a triple to left center field. The next batter, James O’Connor, grounded out, but earned an RBI as Franskevicz was able to cross home plate as the out was recorded at first base.
Justin Zaccari singled and moved to second base when Richard Mirch grounded out. Lucas Bauer and Michael Durkin both drew walks to load the bases with two outs.
Jeremy DeGori then sent Zaccari, Bauer and Durkin home by belting a double down the left-field line, which gave SW a 7-0 lead.
DeGori scored the Bulldogs’ last run of the game when the next batter, Ryan Alsdorf, doubled to left field.
SW again put runners on each base, but Fallsburg pitcher Jim Bertholf ended the inning by inducing a groundout.
In the top of the seventh, the Comets did their best to score at least one run. With one out, Suede Taylor hit a bloop single just inside the left-field line.
But SW pitcher Alsdorf struck out the next two batters to end the game.
Mike Arce, Bertholf and Dustin Foertsch all went 1-for-3 for Fallsburg (0-1).
Fallsburg Coach Mike Weiner noted that he is seeing improvement from his team compared to last season based on recent practices and scrimmages.
“We have a very young team with only one senior,” Weiner said. “It was tough going those first five innings today.”
Weiner noted that his team made some mistakes as does every baseball team, especially in the first few games of the season but was encouraged by the way the Comets kept competing for the entire game.
While he liked the fact that the batters were able to get key hits when their teammates were on base, SW Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. also credited his team’s pitching and defense for the victory.
“Richard Mirch pitched five innings and did a good job,” Scheibe said. “And our defense turned three double plays.”
Scheibe also praised Alsdorf for pitching well in the last two frames.
Mirch, who earned the win, gave up four hits and struck out five batters. Alsdorf recorded three strikeouts and allowed two hits.
Alsdorf, DeGori and Franskevicz each went 2-for-4 to lead the Bulldogs’ offense. In addition to his bases-clearing double in the bottom of the sixth, DeGori had a two-run triple earlier in the game.