UPPER MERION >> The Wissahickon baseball team has high expectations for this season. Nearly all of last year’s squad that reached the second round of the district playoffs is back and most of the key players are seniors.
In the Trojans season-opening win against Upper Merion — a 13-3 victory in six innings — they looked like a team ready to get the year started.
“We’ve been waiting for months,” senior Andrew Seitz said. “Honestly since last year — since our last game we’ve been preparing for this time. We’ve been waiting and it finally came.”
After allowing a run in the top of the first inning, Wissahickon’s first seven batters reached base and scored in the bottom of the opening frame.
Matt Shilling led off with an 0-2 triple to right-center field and Alex Tappen followed with a walk. Steve Loden singled home Shilling and Trey France followed with a base knock to plate Tappen. Mike Schoenleber singled to load the bases with no outs.
Seitz came up next and blew the game wide open. An offseason of working on his swing and hitting the ball to the opposite side of the field paid off. He ripped a bases-clearing double to right center to make it a 5-0 Trojans advantage.
“I saw a fastball right down the middle,” Seitz said. “I just turned on it. It was a little bit outside, actually, so I took it to right field and went with the ball. I just swung and it went.”
“Seitz had two really great at bats,” Wiss coach John Bernhardt said. “I think he’s a lot more confident this year offensively than he was last year which is huge.”
Eddie Fortescue reached on an error and two batters later Ben Maltin brought home a run with a safety squeeze. Shilling capped off the seven-run first with a two-out RBI double.
“To be ahead this early hitting wise is great,” Bernhardt said. “We didn’t really hit the ball that well last year as a group, really only the top five guys hit. It was great (against Upper Merion) — one-through-nine came out swung the bats — we had great at bats. Just a great game for us.”
“We’re OK with some of those physical mistakes,” Upper Merion coach Matt Mitchell said. “Our issue is we had too many mental mistakes. Even the first inning — missing cut off men, not knowing what to do with it. That little stuff is frustrating because we had tons of time to think about it in the gym. That one inning really hurt us.”
While the Trojans bats were knocking in runs, ace Logan Willans was doing his thing on the mound. The right-hander allowed one run on one hit over four innings. He struck out seven batters, walked one and hit one.
“He was throwing a gem,” Seitz — the catcher — said of Willans. “No matter where I put my glove he hit the spot. Just how it was last year, just how it’s going to be all season.”
Mike Steitz grounded out to scored a run in the third and France and Seitz each had RBI hits in the fourth to make it a 10-1 Wissahickon lead.
Upper Merion got two back in the sixth. Jonathan Eyer had an RBI single and Ryan McAteer brought home a run on a groundout.
The Trojans responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game. Maltin stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. He singled up the middle to score a run and the throw in from the outfield went out of play, sending the other two runners home for a 13-3 final score.
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Ray Scheier was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to second on a passed ball. Mike Hutchinson singled him home.
The Trojans were the home team. The game was played at Upper Merion due to poor field conditions at Wissahickon.
Wissahickon 13, Upper Merion 3
Upper Merion 100 002 — 3 4 4
Wissahickon 701 203 — 13 10 0
WP: Logan Willans
LP: Mike Hutchinson
2B: W: Seitz, Shilling, France.
3B: W: Shilling.
TOP PHOTO: Wissahickon’s Matt Shilling celebrates a run with teammates against Upper Merion. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)