TOWAMENCIN >> Souderton baseball has a deep team this year.
It has a really good starting lineup, a very solid second lineup and enough guys left over that if a few of the other guys move to their secondary positions, they even have a solid third lineup. It’s a luxury and it means coach Mike Childs can use non-league games as a chance to learn and improve.
Such was the case Monday afternoon when Souderton’s backups got the start and led the Indians to a 6-2 win at Dock Mennonite Academy.
“If there’s a way you want a non-league game to go, it’s definitely this game,” Childs said. “The kids did well, all the kids did get an opportunity which is the overall goal of non-league games and some guys got a chance while at the end, the starters got their swings in to.”
A perfect guy to sum it up would be Souderton’s Tim Robinson. At the beginning of the season, Robinson was a backup middle infielder, but moved to the outfield to provide some depth. He started in center on Monday, drawing two walks and scoring a run.
At the end of his time in the game, Robinson was at third base.
For the guys who aren’t regular starters, the non-league games give them opportunities to work on some things they need to sharpen. It’s also a source of motivation so when their number is called in a league game or later on, they’re ready.
“It gets us going a lot,” Robinson said. “We can gain momentum going into a big game (Tuesday). We use these games to gain momentum all season long. Everyone gets to be a part of the game and everyone gets to contribute to the win.”
Souderton’s reserve lineup generated four of the six runs, certainly an encouraging sign and as important, they played a clean game. The Indians tied the game in the second inning after Dock posted a run in the first and took the lead for good in the third.
Dock, which doesn’t have near the depth Souderton does, still had to manage its lineup a bit too. With a couple of Bicentennial Athletic League games on deck this week, coach Ed Melendez juggled his pitching staff a bit but it was a third-inning error that gave Big Red the lead for good.
“It happens, but it’s good to face this kind of competition too,” Melendez said. “It will give them more drive if we get into the state playoffs and get past the first round. We want to manage the adversity when we face good teams.”
Souderton threw Jake Morgan, Aaron Groller, David Gulibon and Derek Freed, who all combined on a seven-hit effort. Freed, the usual starting shortstop, pitched for just the second time all season but was another case of the Indians showing their depth and versatility.
“I have faith in everyone on this team,” Robinson said. “Everyone can contribute. It shows that while the starters aren’t always in the game, these other guys can step up and get a win. It helps out for next year too because you see some of these guys moving into spots and they get confidence this year.”
With non-league games not counting toward district power rankings, a loss isn’t really too hurtful. So, Childs doesn’t mind if a hitter makes a mistake at the plate in a game like Mondays, as long as they learn from it and correct it their next time up.
Kyle Meiler, who got the start in left, provided two hits, including an RBI double in the third that made it 3-1 Souderton. Gulibon, who’s battled some injuries, had two hits of his own, with an RBI single in the fourth the scored Robinson to make it 4-1.
The regulars got their cracks in the sixth inning with Brett Moyer (single) and Freed (sac fly) providing RBI for Big Red.
“We want the guys to get their confidence back if they’re struggling with confidence and if their confidence is high, keep it up,” Childs said. “Selective hitting, timely hitting, approach in the box, it’s all stuff you can work on in a non-league game.”
Souderton has a pseudo twinbill against Central Bucks East on Tuesday, having to finish an extra-inning game that was suspended a few weeks back due to darkness, then the regularly-scheduled game. The clean effort in the field Monday was encouraging, because Childs noted errors were a big reason the first game was sent to extras in the first place.
The Indians also face Pennsbury in a crossover game that counts for districts on Thursday, so it’s an important week for them. Should the need arise to call on someone from the bench, Monday showed those guys can get any job needed done.
“We can do whatever we want out here,” Robinson said. “The first few games, it seemed like there was something off. We get along great, there’s never been a problem with the team, we just started slow but we’re heating up now.”
Souderton 6, Dock Mennonite 2
SOUDERTON 012 102 0 – 6 8 2
DOCK MENNONITE 100 001 0 – 2 7 1
WP: Aaron Groller. LP: Daniel Sabath. SO-BB: S- Jake Morgan 4-1, Groller 3-1, David Gulibon 1-0, Derek Freed 1-0; D -Ryan Nichols 3-0, Sabath 2-3, Connor Schnable 1-0, Sam Gwiazdzinski 0-1.
2B: David Gulibon (S), Kyle Meiler (S).
Top Photo: Souderton’s Kyle Meiler rounds third base Monday during the Indians’ game against Dock Mennonite on Monday, May 1, 2017. (Jeff Davis/For Digital First Media)