DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic baseball team hit the field with purpose Thursday against Greenburg Central Catholic and came away with an impressive 9-5 statement victory against a Centurions squad that knocked DCC out of the state playoffs last year..
The game was kind of a passing of torch contest for DCC as freshman lefty Cole Sansom took the mound for his first varsity start.
The last time the teams met last June in the first round of the PIAA Class A playoffs at Punxsutawney, it was the now graduated Thomas Grecco who suffered a tough loss in a 4-3 setback to Greensburg Central Catholic.
Cardinals coach Adam Fox showed the confidence he had in his freshman by starting him Thursday, and Sansom didn’t disappoint. After calming some first-inning nerves, Sansom tossed five strong innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out six and walking two.
Sansom was backed by an explosive offense that took Centurion starter Thomas Voelker behind the proverbial woodshed the first three innings. The Cardinals scored seven runs, all earned, on nine hits — six that went for extra bases — during that stretch to build a commanding 7-2 lead.
Central Catholic tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth before the Centurions made some noise in the seventh. Greenburg Central Catholic scored three runs in the frame, but it proved to be too little, too late as the Cardinals came away with a win that felt more lopsided than the final score might indicate.
Seniors Brandon Walker, Noah Bloom and Garrett Prosper jump-started the Cardinal offense as the trio combined for nine hits on the day. Walker and Prosper each went 3-for-3, while Bloom was 3-for-4.
Walker belted three doubles and scored three runs, while Bloom had two doubles, three RBIs and scored twice. Prosper had a double and a run.
Fellow senior Justin Miknis added a a two-run homer during the early offensive barrage.
“The intensity was great today,” said DCC coach Adam Fox. “The kids were focused. They had a little bit of that taste in their mouth from last season. They look at this stuff as a playoff game. I wish they would get focused like that for every game and treat every game like this, because that’s the type of intensity you need to have to compete and win for a whole season.
“I was happy with the way the kids performed today. That’s a really good team from Greensburg Central. They are well-coached and play the game right and never stop battling.
“We threw a freshman at them this year, and he’s a freshman who’s highly touted. Cole is mature well beyond his 15-year-old age. He knows how to prepare and is guru. He loves the sport and is such a competitor.
“He got to about the 60-pitch mark and i asked him, ‘how do you feel? You have a limit and it’s a 100 (pitches).’ And he said he wanted all 100. He’s so good at repeating his mechanics that he doesn’t throw with his arm. He throws with his legs and lower half, so I’m not worried about him being overworked out there because of the work he puts in off the field.
Greensburg jumped out to the early leas as the scored an unearned run off Sansom in the top of the first.
Dylan Sebek led off the inning with an infield single before Sansom walked Paul Rice. The lefty then fielded a comebacker hit by Alex Miller and got an out at second. However, a late relay throw to first was off the mark, allowing Sebek to score on the play.
Central limited the damage to just one run when Sansom struck out Ben LaCarte and catcher Miknis picked LaCarte off first for an inning-ending double play.
The Cardinals wasted little time getting that run back in the bottom of the inning.
Walker ripped the first pitch he saw for a double to right-center, while Bloom hit the first pitch he saw to right for a single that plated Walker. Miknis then walked to load the bases before Dom Torretti reached on an error that scored Bloom to make it 2-0.
Sansom helped his own cause when he dropped a RBI single into left field to give DCC a 3-1 lead after one inning.
Greensburg got one of those back in the second when Voelker smacked a leadoff double and later scored on a groundout to make it a one-run game at 3-2. The Cardinals quickly seized the momentum back in the bottom of the second and never let it go.
Walker led off the inning with his second double on the second pitch he saw in the game from Voelker. Bloom followed with a double of his own over the left fielder to score Walker. Miknis then launched a Voelker pitch off the batter’s eye behind the center field fence for a two-run homer to give DCC a 6-2 lead.
Central tacked on a seventh run in the third when Walker and Bloom again hit back-to-back doubles.
Meanwhile, Sansom settled in on the mound and kept GCC off the scoreboard in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The lefty worked out of a jam in the fifth as the Centurion loaded the bases with one out as the Cardinal closed in on 90 pitches in the game. However, Sansom responded with back-to-back strikeouts to halt the rally.
Bloom relieved Sansom in the sixth and tossed a scoreless inning before the Cardnals added to their lead in the bottom half of that inning.
Prosper led off the inning and hammered a Ben LaCarte pitch off the fence in right-center for a double. Torretti then singled to center to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Tyler McIntosh then beat out a potential double-play ball, with Prosper crossing home on the play. McIntosh later scored on a Damon Foster groundout to make it a 9-2 game after six innings.
Greensburg Central Catholic finally got some offense going in the seventh against Bloom loading the bases on two singles and a walk.
Fox then went to Miknis on the mound. LaCarte was the first batter he faced, and the Centurion hit a sacrifice fly to right. After a walk reloaded the bases, GCC scored two more runs on a single and fielder’s choice before Miknis struck out Zach Kuvinka to end the game.
“Any time you beat a team that finished Top 4 in state, and you can put it to that team like that, it feels good,” said Fox. “This team is capable and, and I’ll say it again. Our goal is a state title.
“That’s why they (GCC) are on the schedule. I want the kids to see for themselves they can do this and move past some of the obstacles they’ve had in the past and win these big games.”
The Cardinals are back in action Saturday at home against Brookville at Stern Field at 12:30 p.m.