By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Broadway took advantage of three first-inning errors by Central to score five early runs that proved to be more than enough to handle the Falcons on Thursday as the Gobblers picked up a 17-3 win in six innings.
The Falcons (1-1) shouldn't feel too bad about losing to Broadway through the mercy rule. The Group AA Gobblers (4-0) have done that to three of their first four opponents.
"One of the things that I really like about this team is that they come out hard early, play aggressively, and get an early lead," Broadway coach Yates Hall said. "Our pitchers threw strikes from the very beginning and our defense was solid behind them."
The Falcons can take some consolation in the fact that Gobblers outscored their first three opponents -- all Group AA teams -- by a combined 36-3. Central, despite the lopsided score, was able to equal all the runs scored by all three of Broadway's opponents in defeat.
Two of those runs came on solo homers by two Falcons who had never done that before. James Brennan and Juan Troncoso both smashed the ball over the center-field fence. Brennan got his homer in the second inning, and Troncoso got his in the third.
"Those two hits were the bright spot of this game," Central coach Don Foltz said. "That was the first home run either of them had hit for us, and it was really good to see."
Unfortunately for the Falcons, their defense wasn't able to match their offense. Central committed 10 errors, giving the Gobblers too many opportunities to score.
"I thought that [Adam] Marston gave us a couple of good innings in relief," Foltz said. "Our starter Frank Kopa actually pitched pretty well, too. We just didn't provide them any defensive support."
Central's defensive woes became evident in the first inning. The Gobblers scored five first-inning runs thanks in large part to three critical Falcons errors in the frame. Two more errors in the second left Central trailing, 6-0.
Kopa, who allowed eight runs on seven hits, struck out two Broadway batters and allowed just one walk, never had a chance. By the time the Falcons' bats got going in the last half of second, it was too late.
Brennan's and Troncoso's homers were negated by two more Broadway runs in the third, leaving the Falcons trailing, 8-3.
Cameron Smith, who started for the Gobblers, gave way to reliever Nick Fulk after five innings on the mound. The Broadway junior gave up three runs on four hits, struck out four and walked just one Falcons batter to get the win.
"I told Cameron after the game that I would have been more irritated with him if he had walked those two guys, rather than giving up the home runs," Yates said. "He pounded the plate all night with strikes, and that's the way I want my pitchers to approach the game. That was his first start, and I thought he had a really good outing."
Jon Kyger was the top hitter for the Gobblers, going 3-for-3 at the plate and scoring three runs. Marston got the third RBI for Central, driving home Brennan with a single to left in the fourth.
"We've obviously got a lot of work to do," Foltz said. "But we'll get back to practice and start working on the mistakes we made today."