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Schultz pitches Downingtown East to easy win over Bishop Shanahan

DOWNINGTOWN >> When a team pitches well, fields flawlessly and hits in key situations, it makes a baseball coach very happy.

On Monday afternoon, Downingtown East’s Pete Susi was very happy.

Susi’s Cougars did all three of those things extremely well Monday, as East rolled over host Bishop Shanahan, 12-1, in a five-inning Ches-Mont League affair.

Downingtown East got a sparkling starting pitching performance from from sophomore pitcher Jake Schultz, who threw four stellar innings in his first varsity start, allowing one run on just three hits. Dan Gibson, JJ O’Neil and Andrew Dewese took care of the offense in the mercy rule game.

“I was extremely happy with the way we played today,” Susi said. “Jake was very good in his first varsity start. He has been in a couple of games in relief but he really did well. He hit spots and threw strikes. He is a son of a coach and he is older beyond his years. He understands the game and adjusts to things on the field. He has a lot of composure.”

The Cougars (3-2 Ches-Mont, 4-2 overall) took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning off Bishop Shanahan (1-4, 1-4) starter Dan Shields, who walked the first two batters in the inning. Dewese then moved the runners up to second and third with a perfect sacrifice bunt. A passed ball let the first Cougar run score and O’Neil then roped an RBI double to make it a 2-0 game. Two batters later, Collin Hickey laced an RBI single to left field and it was a 3-0 Cougar lead.

But, Downingtown East put the game away in the top the fourth when the Cougars sent nine men to the plate. The big hits were an RBI single by Dewese and a ringing two run double by Dan Gibson. The Eagles did not help themselves, walking three Downingtown East batters in the inning and committing a costly throwing error that made matters worse.

“I hit a fastball that was a little up and out over the plate,” Gibson said. “And with Jake throwing strikes today it gets all of us in the game. We have a good lineup and today we showed that. We were getting good pitches to hit and we came through.”

Schultz was cruising with a 7-1 lead in the fourth inn when the Eagles put up a rally against the savvy sophomore. After getting Andrew Noone to ground out for the first out, Mike McGonigle singled. Schultz then struck out Trevor Vassler for the second out before Sean Gingrich singled to right field to put two runners on with two out. Schultz then got the final out by getting Dom DiSanti to pop out to the infield, securing a 7-1 lead after four innings.

“I felt really good out there today,” Schultz said. “No butterflies for my first start. I was hitting my spots with my fastball and I was using the curveball a little too. It was a little hard to get loose in this cold weather but all in all I felt great.”

Downingtown East then put the game away in the top of the fifth. Shanahan reliever Brendan Noone loaded the bases by hitting two East batters and walking another. Dewese then ripped a fastball to center field for an RBI single. O’Neil then was hit by a pitch and then Gibson put the game into the mercy rule by slugging a two-run double, and all that was left was for Cougar reliever Jake Keenan to shut down the Eagles in the bottom of the fifth, which he did on 11 pitches.

“We had some issues offensively after the first couple of games but we are starting to hit the ball well and it was a good day for us all around today.” Susi said.

Downingtown East 12, Bishop Shanahan 1 (5 inn.)

Downingtown East 003 45 – 12

Bishop Shanahan 001 00 – 1

2B-Gibson 2, O’Neil, Rapcynski.

WP-Schultz. LP-Shields.

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