BUCKTOWN >> Coming off a game where his team could only muster two hits last weekend against Oley Valley, Owen J. Roberts manager Greg Gilbert challenged his players to be more aggressive at the plate.
The Wildcats answered that challenge Friday evening with a 13-3 six-inning rout of visiting Boyertown in a Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division matchup.
“It was nice to see us swing the bat today,” said Gilbert. “Our guys were way more aggressive than we were against Oley.”
The Wildcats blended aggression and patience at the plate, utilizing both during a key nine-run third inning that featured four walks and four hits.
With the win, OJR (1-0 PAC, 1-1 overall) has now won its league opener the past five seasons. Meanwhile Boyertown (0-1 PAC, 1-1 overall) lost its league opener for the fourth consecutive year. Friday’s loss was the first time the Bears were 10-runned since the 2012 season, which they opened up with a 13-2 loss against Pope John Paul II.
“It’s a shame they had to endure that,” said Boyertown manager Todd Moyer, “but hopefully they take away something from it. We were trying to throw too hard, swing too hard, make great plays instead of making the routine plays.”
First baseman Andy Blum led off the bottom of the third inning with a double, then came around to score on a single by designated hitter Frankie Guinan. Then with men on first and third, catcher Jordan Siket blasted a two-run triple off the top of the wall in right-center to give OJR a 6-3 lead.
“We needed to get that lead, so I was looking to stay calm up at the plate,” said Siket. “He threw me a change-up on the outer half of the plate and I was right on it.”
That would spell the end for Boyertown starter Mike Hohlfeld, who was tagged with six runs (five earned) on four hits and four walks on a day that he couldn’t get settled in on the mound. Reliever Drew Hartman struggled in his place, allowing six more runs (five earned) and only recording one out before being pulled.
Siket finished 2-for-4 with a run scored while Guinan wound up with three RBI. Third baseman Leif Wergeland was 2-for-3 with an RBI double while Jack Rinehimer had two runs scored and an RBI.
“I think I was most happy with our defense,” admitted Gilbert. “For the first league game of the year to not make any errors, I’m not gonna say I’m surprised, but it’s definitely good to see.”
Dawson Stuart picked up the win on the mound pitching into the fourth inning before giving way to Dan Stofko. Stuart was tagged with three runs on six hits and three walks. Stofko didn’t let a single man on in his 2-1/3 innings of work.
Center fielder Austyn Young-Levengood proved a bright spot for Boyertown in his debut against his former team. The OJR transfer led off the game with a solo home run to straight away center on the second pitch he saw and finished 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI. Second baseman Sam Longacre was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Jared Waldman was solid in relief, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks in three innings of work.
For Moyer and the Bears, Friday’s game was one of the more forgettable starts to the year. They’ll look to get back on track Monday with a home game against Methacton while OJR will host Perkiomen Valley next Tuesday.
“We’ve got our work to do,” said Moyer. “The good thing is our fans didn’t have to pay to get in to this one.”
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