South Park baseball team stomps struggling Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson coach Kevin Gryboski gathered his team a couple of steps beyond first base and uttered only a few words.
There probably wasn't much he could say following a 12-1, five-inning loss to undefeated South Park in Section 4-AAA Monday at Jefferson Elementary.
“We didn't hit cutoffs, we didn't catch fly balls and we didn't make plays,” Gryboski said.
In addition, Thomas Jefferson's best pitcher, David Stover, was thumped for 15 hits, including three doubles and a three-run home run. Gryboski benched starters Colton Booher and Eric Fairman in the third inning based on “performance. And a once promising season could be quickly spiraling downward.
Thomas Jefferson (8-6, 4-3) is in a four-way tie for second place with Elizabeth Forward (10-3, 4-3), Belle Vernon (8-5, 4-3) and West Mifflin (8-5, 4-3) with five section games left.
“Some of these kids need to grow up, step up and play the game,” Gryboski said. “We will go to work (Tuesday) and correct some mistakes and move forward.
“If not, it's going to be a long second half of the season.”
South Park (14-0, 7-0) won its seventh game via the 10-run rule this season and remained one of two undefeated teams in the WPIAL.
“We have stayed humble this year even though this group hasn't won a lot,” South Park coach Steve Bucci said.
“When you are a group that hasn't won a whole lot, you always have to be guarded for a team to take their best shot at you.”
The Eagles didn't have to worry about that because by the time Thomas Jefferson came to bat in the second inning, South Park had nine hits and eight runs off Stover.
“The last few games — I don't want to say struggle — but it was 3-1 against Ringgold in the fifth and kind of a blah day,” Bucci said. “It was nice to break out a little.”
Same can be said about Carter Grote.
The senior came into the game struggling, but he went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and five RBI.
“A day like this, I was saying to myself that it's coming for him,” Bucci said.
“You just don't know when, and that's the beauty of it.”
South Park got two hits from Jake Bywalski, Greg Pantuso, Nick Yobbi and Shane Fetsko. Justin Dilla and Cris Winkler each had two RBI.
Randy Dobnak earned the win, scattering three singles over five innings and allowing one run while striking out six. One of the only blemishes on Dobnak's line was a first-inning double by Joe McHugh.
“It really doesn't surprise me much of what we are capable of doing,” Bucci said. “Still, regardless of who you are playing, it is tough to sweep a season series.”
South Park beat Thomas Jefferson three weeks ago, 11-4.
The Eagles got RBI singles from Winkler and Fetsko in the first sandwiched around a sacrifice fly by Dilla to take a 3-0 lead.
South Park extended its lead in the second when Grote, Yobbi, Winkler and Dilla knocked in runs.
Stover (2-2) entered the game with a 1.77 ERA. After 11 earned runs, his ERA jumped to 4.63.
“His velocity was way down,” Gryboski said. “And he wasn't hitting his spots. His last three spots were phenomenal because he was hitting his spots and commanding his fastball. He didn't do that, got behind some hitters and they made him pay.”
Grote put the game away in the fifth with a three-run home run to make the score 12-1.
“When you don't do the things you need to do against a team like this, you are going to get killed,” Gryboski said.