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Thomas Jefferson blows out Ringgold, 12-4, in 4 AAA

| Saturday, April 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Ringgold short stop Alec Varley is one of the key players coach Mike Sikorski will be counting on this season.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. / For The Valley Independent
Ringgold short stop Alec Varley is one of the key players coach Mike Sikorski will be counting on this season.

In one dugout, you had a coach who had the nickname “Groundball” during his time as a pitcher in the major leagues, while the other dugout had a coach who was affectionately know as “No Score-ski” because of his dominance and 94-mph fastball during his days in the semi-professional Daily News League.

So, of course, when Kevin Gryboski's Thomas Jefferson Jaguars met Mike Sikorski's Ringgold Rams in a Section 4 AAA game Friday, pitching had nothing to do with the outcome.

Actually, it was the complete opposite.

Jared Carranza and Eric Fairman hit grand slams and Joe McHugh drilled a two-run homer as TJ powered its way to a 12-4 win over visiting Ringgold.

“I've seen a lot of baseball over my career and I don't think I ever saw two grand slams in a game,” Gryboski said. “We got some good swings on the ball today. We were aggressive at the plate early in the count and jumped on the fastballs and put the ball in play.”

Thomas Jefferson collected eight hits off of three different Ringgold pitchers. McHugh and Colton Booher had two hits while Carranza and Fairman knocked in four runs each as the Jaguars won its first section game of the year.

Sikorski put blame most of the blame on his pitchers getting behind in the count.

“You always stress first-pitch strikes and we didn't do that and that's what changed the outcome of the game,” Sikorski said. “We threw too many balls, hit two many batters, walked too many people. It all hurts.”

Ringgold (1-1, 0-1) got a double and a single from Mike Cramer and two singles by Travis Yost, but that was about it off of Thomas Jefferson (3-3, 1-1) starter David Stover.

Stover improved to 2-0 on the year as he went the distance striking out four and scattering seven hits and allowing only two earned runs.

Stover found himself in a hole early and had nobody to blame but himself. After allowing a pair of two-out singles in the second inning, Stover appeared to get out of the inning when Billy Morris bounced one back to him. However, Stover's errant throw to first allowed two runs to score to give Ringgold a quick 2-0 lead.

It was a lead that wouldn't last long for Ringgold.

With the score 2-1 in the third, Justin Rich, who took the loss for Ringgold, loaded the bases with a walk, a hit batter and a single for the No. 5 hitter Carranza.

Carranza fouled off a handful of pitches before belting a grand slam over the left-field fence to give TJ a 5-2 lead.

“The first grand slam that they hit, it was one of those things that you knew he was timing him up,” Sikorski said. “Our pitcher wasn't throwing enough curveballs with consistency to keep him off balance. You have to throw more than one pitch with a consistent outcome or it is going to get ugly.”

It did get ugly later on.

Following a two-run homer by McHugh in the fourth to make it 7-2, the Jags put the game away in the fifth with five unearned runs off reliever Devin Fallenstein with the big hit being Fairman's grand slam that just got inside the left-field foul pole.

Beth-Center 10,Charleroi 5

The Cougars (1-4, 0-2) got two hits and two runs from David Young, but it wasn't enough as B-C (1-3, 1-1) got two triples from Josh Miller and two doubles from Eddie Zellie.

Charleroi also had doubles from Zach Nabozny and Gunnar Riley.

BV Area 13,Riverside (S.C.) 10

The Leps closed out their southern trip with a big run as they scored six runs in the seventh inning.

Parker Lynn had two doubles and a single, Joe Simsic had a double and two singles, and Dom Francia and Adam Ferita each had two hits. Francia had three RBI.

Francia, who had seven RBI in three games in the event, was named BVA's MVP. Simsic won the All-Academic Award.

Jeannette 8, Monessen 4

The pitching-starved Greyhounds (1-4) spotted Jeannette (2-0) a 4-0 first inning lead and then battled as best they could.

Pete Tarka doubled for the Greyhounds, who have lost four straight.

California Area 10,Frazier 3

The Trojans (6-2) rolled in the non-section game as Brian Fisher pitched a complete game, giving up 10 hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

Offensively, Mike Luketich had a triple and single and Aaron Previsky had two singles for California. Teammate Jake Columbus added a triple.

Frazier (0-3) got a double from John Clay and a triple from Jaime Fell.E. Forward 19,Serra Catholic 1

The Warriors (6-0) breezed in the four-inning non-section game as Luke Padezan pitched a one-hitter with five strikeouts.

EF was led by Kenny Lamkin, who had a single and grand slam. The Warriors also got two hits each from Jake Terrick and Matt Diehl, with Diehl having four RBI. Ryan Wardopper added a home run.

Fort Cherry 12,Bentworth 9

Fort Cherry's Kyle Witzberger was too much for the Bearcats in a 2 AA matchup. Witzberger was the winning pitcher and had four hits at the plate with three singles and a double and knocked in four runs for the Rangers (2-1, 2-0).

Adam Bell took the loss on the mound for Bentworth (2-1, 1-1).

Mark Kaboly is a sports editor for Trib-Total media and can be reached at

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