By PETER DiGIOVANNI
CALN -- The Downingtown East baseball team has gotten off to a fast start in the National Division of the Ches-Mont League. The Cougars have been getting good pitching, timely hitting and running the bases with abandon.
Friday afternoon at Atkinson Field, the Cougars did all these elements very well as Dan Gittis and Kyle Ajjan held Coatesville to just three hits en route to a 6-0 victory. The pair outdueled Coatesville starter Bobby Kuehn, who held the Cougars to just one run until the seventh.
Gittis was ahead 1-0 when Coatesville (3-4 Ches-Mont, 3-4 overall) leadoff hitter Jared Urban singled, but Ajjan came in to end the threat when he got the next three batters, including forcing pinch hitter Stanley Woodward to ground out to first baseman Eric Sigovich to end the inning.
"Coatesville is very loud when they are at bat and they try to throw you off your game,' Gittis said. "And you have to just lock in with (catcher) Spencer (Cobb). My fastball was good today and I had good command. I just love playing on this team and playing with these guys.'
The first Downingtown East (7-2 Ches-Mont, 7-2 overall) run came off Kuehn in the top of the third inning courtesy of some fantastic base running by Ryan Taylor. The centerfielder singled with one out and with Nick Amicon up, Kuehn's pitch rolled slightly away from catcher Bobby Stewart. Like a shot, Taylor bolted for second and made it easily. On the next pitch, Taylor was off again and stole third.
Sigovich then hit a long sacrifice fly to plate Taylor and give Gittis a 1-0 lead.
"That first run was all Ryan Taylor,' Downigntown East coach Pete Susi said. "He is our spark plug and Dan got the lead right there. He is such a hard worker, he is one of those guys you have to tell to back off sometimes.
"Right now, we have four real good pitchers and they are all pitching well right now. But, we are 7-2, but we know we could be 7-7 in a week because the league is so good. We don't even know who we play next, we just focus on one game at a time.'
Coatesville managed only three singles on the day, but tried to mount a threat off Ajjan in the sixth. Brady Carras walked. Brian Brown reached first on a fielders choice, then stole second. But Ajjam got Stewart to pop out to Cobb, who made a great catch, and then retired pinch hitter Stan Woodward on a comebacker to the mound.
The East bats caught fire in the top of the seventh when they banged out five hits and received two errors to score five times. The big blow was Sigovich's two-run single to make it 5-0.
"We feel we have four real good pitchers on this team,' Sigovich said. "Dan Gittis kept us in the game today and Ryan Taylor got us that first run. Taylor is our spark plug. He gets us going and he did again today.'
Taylor helped out with the glove also as he made a great catch on pinch-hitter Ben Fuller's long drive that saved a run and added to the Red Raiders' misery.
For Coatesville, coach Hal Ziegler lamented his team's struggles at the plate.
"We just could not hit the ball again,' Ziegler said. "We have been working on it since January, but I guess we need to have a big day to get us going, because hitting is contagious.'
Downingtown East 6, Coatesville 0
DEAST ab r h bi COATESVILLE ab r h bi
Ajjan rf 3 0 0 0 Cummings ss 3 0 0 0
Taylor cf 4 1 2 0 Carras rf 2 0 0 0
Amicon ss 3 1 1 0 Brown 1b 3 0 0 0
Sigovich 1b 4 0 1 2 Stewart c 3 0 0 0
Marrollo lf 4 0 1 1 Kuehn p 0 0 0 0
Baxley 3b 3 1 0 0 Quigley dh 2 0 1 0
Gittis p 0 0 0 0 Woodward ph 1 0 0 0
Greer dh 1 0 0 0 Urban lf 3 0 2 0
Zuraski rf 1 1 1 0 Sheikora cf 2 0 0 0
Alba 2b 3 1 2 1 Fuller ph 1 0 0 0
Cobb c 3 0 1 1 Gabriel 2b 2 0 0 0
Truchan pr 0 1 0 0 Limper pr 0 0 0 0
Rodriguez 3b 3 0 1 0
Totals 24 6 9 5 Totals 25 0 3 0
Downingtown East IP R H BB SO
Gittis, W 5 0 2 2 2
Ajjan 2 0 1 1 0
Kuehn, L 7 6 9 2 4
Gittis pitched to one batter in the sixth.