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Serra Catholic slams Frazier

| Saturday, April 6, 2002

PERRYOPOLIS - Cold weather and snow flurries aren't exactly signs of typical baseball weather, and the wintry conditions seemed to rattle the Frazier baseball team on Friday. The Commodores committed several errors and chased a few bad curve balls in a 13-2 non-section loss to Serra Catholic in five innings.

"On fundamentals, we just stunk. There's no other way to say it," Frazier coach Ray Smitley said.

Smitley said the Commodores (0-3) had been playing solid baseball during the exhibition season, but as section competition looms, the team has experienced some difficulties.

"The last two ball games, we just totally collapsed," he said.

Frazier's collapse began slowly on Friday, as the Eagles gained a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jason Schaffer gained first on an error and stole second, and Larry Christinas followed with a base on balls. Luke Skinner's groundout advanced both runners, and Chris Englert swatted a double to right field that drove both Schaffer and Christinas across the plate.

Tom Begonia looked to get the Commodores on the board in the bottom of the inning, hitting a two-out single up the middle and moving to second on a passed ball. But the next batter flied out to left to end the inning.

Dustin Songer gave Serra a 3-0 advantage in the second, walking and taking second on a passed ball. Casey Donohoe's sacrifice bunt moved Songer to third, and Ross Maola's groundout plated him.

After sending the Commodores down in order to finish the second, the Eagles broke out with a six-run third. A pair of errors, numerous stolen bases, and Schaffer's two-run triple to right helped Serra Catholic build a 9-0 lead. Christinas and Songer scored their second runs of the game, with Maola, Skinner, Englert and Donohoe also heading home.

Pat Black came close to putting Frazier's first run on the board in the home team's half of the frame. Black singled and got to second on a passed ball before being gunned down heading to third. Two strikeouts later, the Eagles were up again.

This time, with Begonia relieving starter John Paull, the Commodores managed to keep Serra away from home plate, but the Eagles regained their offensive touch in the fifth, scoring four more runs. Donohoe got aboard on a one-out error and went to second on another miscue. He advanced to third on a passed ball, and Matt Mendicino singled him home. Mendicino made it home as well, and Christinas singled and scored for his third run of the day.

Skinner capped Serra Catholic's day at the plate, reaching first on an error and scoring when Jeremy Stetson laced a shot past shortstop.

Frazier's offense kicked in at the bottom of the fifth. Leadoff hitter Grant Gatalica made it all the way to second on an error, and Nick Parenti singled. Wayne Lonce's base hit to short brought Gatalica home, and Black added a sacrifice bunt to his tally to plate Parenti.

But it was too little, too late for the Commodores. Frazier's offense fizzled after Black's at-bat, handing the Eagles a win due to the 10-run rule.

Smitley didn't make excuses for the loss, despite missing three seniors in the game.

"(Serra Catholic has) a nice ball club, but we just didn't stand up to the way we're capable of playing," he said.

The Commodores will open Section 7-A action on Tuesday at California.

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