The Cougars won their third straight over a Mid-Penn Keystone contended behind Isaac Blatt's complete game. Andrew Callahan
The Cougars won their third straight over a Mid-Penn Keystone contender working behind Isaac Blatt's complete game
HERSHEY - What a difference 10 days make.
Not long after suffering back-to-back blowouts courtesy of division foes, the Palmyra baseball team has now rolled through three straight Mid-Penn Keystone contenders.
And the latest notch on the Cougars’ belt was their biggest to date: first-place Hershey.
Paced by Isaac Blatt’s complete game, Palmyra polished off a 3-0 shutout Wednesday on a chilly afternoon in Chocolatetown. Blatt, who worked on four days rest and felt fatigued by the fourth inning, never let a Trojan runner past second base. Meanwhile, the Cougars (9-6, 7-5 Mid-Penn Keystone) jumped on Hershey starter Blake Smith early and totaled eight hits.
Zach Yingst and Nick DeCarlo each recorded first-inning RBIs, while Blatt scored two runs, his last on Tyler Julian’s one-out single in the sixth.
“I don’t know how I pitched the whole game,” Blatt said. “But we know we can beat anyone now.”
Before Blatt could take the mound, patience proved to be Palmyra’s greatest ally, as the Cougars forced Smith’s pitch count to rise near 30 before the first inning was over. Having observed their opponent’s full arsenal prior to even stepping in, Yingst and DeCarlo both took advantage of new information at hand, lacing back-to-back singles for a two-run lead.
“He wouldn’t’ throw me a strike at first and threw a lot of curveballs,” DeCarlo said. “I just had to be patient, and it was 2-2 and I just put the bat on the ball with a good swing.”
Quality swings were not limited to Palmyra hitters, however. Eight of the Trojans’ initial nine outs were recorded through the air, most well-struck balls simply ticketed for waiting outfielders. In turn, Blatt and his defense kept their collective composure and stranded eight Hershey runners on the day.
The Trojans’ last true threat registered in the bottom of the fifth, when clean-up hitter Owen DeFlitch, who had doubled earlier, stood in with two outs and ultimately left a teammate on second.
“I don’t know what it is. He doesn’t throw real hard, but he’s deceiving as heck,” Palmyra coach Tim Gingrich said of Blatt. “And if he can get that changeup over …”
Gingrich’s voice trailed off. Nothing more needed be said.
For Blatt’s changeup found its way over the plate during most of the afternoon, and his results were as clear as the zeroes on the scoreboard.