EAST WHITELAND>> The word on the Downingtown East baseball team coming into the 2023 baseball season was that the Cougars had quality pitching but would they be able to hit.
Well, if Thursday afternoon’s performance at Great Valley High School was any indication, the Cougars will be just fine. Downingtown East banged out 11 hits, scored 11 runs and got a three pitcher, combined shutout, of the host Patriots as the Cougars rolled to an 11-0 Ches-Mont League win.
Starting pitcher Mike Devenney went four innings and then Kyle Mandirola and Chase Martin finished things up as the trio allowed Great Valley (1-1 Ches-Mont, 1-1-1 overall) just five hits for the game and kept the Patriots batters off balance most of the game.
“We had Devenney on a 60-65 pitch count because it is still very early in the season,” Downingtown East coach Pete Susi said. “And he got it up to 70 when we made the move. It was nice to see us hit the ball well today. We had some real good at bats and the guys did a real nice job hitting with men in scoring position today. we have room to improve but i was happy with the performance today.”
The Cougars (1-1,2-1) opened the scoring in the top the third inning against Great Valley starter Cole Callahan. Walks to Jack Reichlin and Sam Bates opened the door for a RBI single from Nick Mullen to make it a 1-0 game.
The second Cougars run scored on a wild pitch and the Cougars were off to the races.
Downingtown East scored in every inning from the third inning on to take control of the game but the Patriots did load the bases against Devenney in the bottom of the third inning.
Ryan Rossi led off with a ringing double to left field. After a sacrifice bunt and an infield single, Mason Segarnick walked to load the bases with two out. Devenney went to a 2-1 count before getting Cam Elicier to fly out to center field to end the threat and the Cougars still had a 2-0 lead.
The Cougars scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to make it a 5-0 game. Reichlin doubled and Ryan Kuzmick and Conor Kelly ripped RBI singles and it was a 5-0 Cougars lead.
“I know people were saying our hitting was a question mark,” Reichlin said. “But with Nick Mullen and myself and guys like Sam Bates and Chase Martin and the other guys stepping up we feel we are going to be just fine at the plate. We hit the ball well today and we did it with men in scoring position too.”
The Cougars got into the Patriots bullpen and scored two runs in the top of the fifth and one run in the top the sixth inning to take an 8-0 lead. Then, three runs on three hits in the top of the seventh inning iced the win for the visitors.
The Cougars sent eight men to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with a big RBI triple from Kuzmick to deep right field and an RBI single from pinch hitter Sam Ferguson being the big blows.
Kyle Mandirola pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Devenney for the Cougars and Chase Martin finished off the Patriots with a scoreless seventh inning and the Cougars had a very impressive win.
“As a catcher you have to adjust to different pitchers,” Reichlin said. “I have been catching Mike and Kyle forever and today things were going very well for us on the mound and when we were at bat.”
Downingtown East 11, Great Valley 0
Downingtown East 002 321 3-11
Great Valley 000 000 0-0