Hawks overcome adversity, Falcons in baseball

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline faced a little adversity on Monday, but was able to prevail against Central.

Dillon Sisk had a strong performance on the mound to lead the Hawks to a 7-1 non-district baseball victory over the Falcons at Bing Crosby Stadium.

Skyline had three players suffer injuries before or during the game, but the reserves filled in to help the team win.

“We had people come in, in place of those guys and step up and that’s all you can ask for,” Skyline coach Jay Barnes said. “Hopefully, you’ve prepared guys who are in in the reserve spots and they’re ready to be in the game.”

Skyline’s normal 3-4-5 hitters were the ones that suffered injuries. Skyline senior Matt Hartzell suffered a knee injury last week and did not play at all. Junior Quentin Diggs suffered a leg injury in the first inning and did not return, while senior shortstop Aaron Tasker injured his arm while applying a tag in the fourth inning and did not return to the game.

Central (3-6) took an early lead without a hit. With one out in the top of the first, Jared Rice reached on an error. Luke Estep then reached on a two-base error to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

Skyline (7-1) battled back in the bottom of the third. Luis Garcia drew a walk from Central starting pitcher Estep.

One out later, Garcia stole second and Bailey Smeltzer followed with an infield single. A passed ball scored Garcia to tie the game at 1-1.

With two outs, Gavin Kandrick reached on an error to score Smeltzer, and Tyler Hugo’s RBI double gave the Hawks a 3-1 advantage.

That was more than enough for Sisk. The junior went six innings, allowed just two hits and struck out 10.

“At first I was a little shaky,” Sisk said. “As we got through the game a little bit it started to pick up, get a little more consistent. …I just needed to focus on the mechanics and find the strike zone more. Just tune out all the negativity and just throw strikes.”

Sisk said it helped give him more confidence once the Hawks had the lead.

He said he had all of his pitches working as the game went on.

“My change-up’s never really worked for me like that, and it worked really good tonight,” Sisk said. “My fastball was good. At first I had a hard time hitting my spots, but it straightened up there at the end and pulled through.”

The Hawks added a run in the bottom of the fourth. Brett Ritter reached on a dropped third strike. He eventually scored on another Central error to stretch the lead to 4-1.

Skyline added another run in the bottom of the fifth on a single by Gavin Kandrick and two more Central errors.

An RBI single by Sisk in the bottom of the sixth increased the lead to 6-1. Another Central error later in the inning scored another run for a 7-1 lead.

The Falcons had five errors, and coach Sean Semones said that it was a step back for the team coming off of a good victory over Clarke County on Friday.

“We jumped out on them early, we looked great.” Semones said. “Then we looked complacent from there. The five errors really hurt us. We pitched good. At the plate we were guessing a little bit.”

The Falcons had some chances, but left five on base.

Central’s Josue Rosario and Estep had a hit each for the Falcons.

“Great thing about this week, we’re playing in the same ball park twice this week,” Semones said. “We come back against Warren County on Thursday. So we know the routine now. We should be able to play ball. I’m looking forward to the next two days of practice and really busting their butts and getting better as a team.”

Sisk, Kandrick, Hugo and Smeltzer each had a hit for the Hawks.

Barnes said there is no school this week due to spring break, and he was happy with how they handled playing on a day when there is no school.

“That wrench just gets everybody,” Barnes said. “When you’re not in school it throws them off. They don’t get up at the same time. They don’t go to bed at the same time. To be able to come out here and have a good win is a good sign for us.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com