By PETER DiGIOVANNI
UWCHLAN -- What a difference a year makes. In 2013, the Downingtown East baseball team struggled to win just six games. Friday afternoon, misery turned into glory as the Cougars routed crosstown rival Downingtown West, 11-1 in five innings, to capture the Ches-Mont League National Division title.
"This is all about the kids,' said first-year coach Pete Susi. "We came in at 5:30 a.m in the dead of winter in the ice and snow and not one kid missed any of those practices. They just worked their tails off and made a point to get better. They deserve everything they get and I cannot say enough good things about them.'Susi could have said plenty of good things about Friday's clinching performance. Downingtown East (14-4 Ches-Mont, 14-5 overall) scored eight runs in the second inning off West (11-7,11-7) ace Sean Esch . The Cougars record nine hits innings, most of them were of the hard hit variety.The first and hardest hit of those cannons was a leadoff home run by Rob Baxley. The third baseman Baxley had three hits and three RBI's on the day and reflected on how much the crown means to the team.
"I hit an inside fastball,' Baxley said. "This championship means so much to us because we all put in so much work in during all those early morning workouts. We wanted to get better and we all did our job. we did not give(starting pitcher) Eric (Sigovich) much run support the first time we played West, so we wanted to do it early today.'
After Baxley's bomb to dead center field gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, Tommy Marrollo and Spencer Zuraski singled and Jesse Alba walked to load the bases, Ryan Hayn ripped a two-run single to make it 3-0 as the bench exploded.The hit parade continued, with one out, Kyle Ajjan singled, Nick Amicon ripped an RBI double to right. Baxley recorded his second RBI of the inning on a single, followed by by hits from Marrollo and Zuraski to chase Esch. Doug Conrad came in and gave up a couple of more hits before finally getting out of the frame, but East put eight runs on the board to take a firm hold of the championship.
"What a difference a year makes,' said Sigovich. "All those workouts brought us closer together as a team. This win puts Downingtown back on the map. You saw today. Everybody had a part in this win.'
Sigovich held the Whippets scoreless for the first four innings, but West managed to break through in the fifth. Conrad and Bryan Murphy singled to put the first two batters on. Ken Jaremma drew a one-out walk and then Max Edgin lofted a sacrifice fly for the run.
Sigovich got the final out on a Colin Domblesky final out to send the Cougars into a wild celebration.
"These kids came in focused today and everybody hit the ball,' Susi said. "They really worked to get this championship and to beat your crosstown rival to win it is special.'
Downingtown East 11, Downingtown West 1, 5 innings
DWEST ab r h bi DEAST ab r h bi
Borosky cf 3 0 0 0 Taylor cf 2 1 0 0
Welk ss 1 0 1 0 Ajjan 1b 3 1 1 1
Jaremma ss 0 0 0 0 Amicon ss 2 2 1 1
Edgin c 2 0 1 1 Sigovich p 3 0 1 0
Mejias pr 0 0 0 0 Truchan pr 01 0 0
sparhawk 3b 3 0 0 0 Baxley 3b 3 2 3 3
Domblesky lf 3 0 1 0 Marrollo lf 3 1 2 1
Marcelli 1b 1 0 0 0 Zuraski rf 3 2 3 2
Esch p 0 0 0 0 Alba 2b 2 0 1 1
Catenese p 0 0 0 0 Hayn c 2 0 1 2
Carbone dh 2 0 0 0 Hunter pr 0 1 0 0
Conrad rf 2 1 1 0
Murphy 2b 2 0 1 0
Totals 19 1 5 1 Totals 23 11 13 11
Downingtown West 000 01-1
Downingtown East 080 3-x-11
Esch pitched to four batters in the second.
Downigntown West IP R H BB SO
Esch, L 1 5 4 0 1
Conrad 2.2 6 8 0 1
Catnese .1 0 1 0 0
Sigovich, W 5 1 5 3 4