KULPMONT — Jack Chapman had one hit before he and his Mount Carmel teammates stepped foot on the field against Southern Columbia, Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex.
However, Chapman did something he had not done all season and it paid off as the three-hole hitter reached base three times and belted a grand slam to center field with two outs in the third inning off Tigers left-handed pitcher Gatlin Hovenstine, handing MCA a 12-0 advantage. The Red Tornadoes would go on to win the contest in four innings, 15-0.
“I just went with my instincts. I struggled coming into the game. I went back to my roots and used my old bat and my old gloves. I’m real superstitious. I just went back to them and saw the ball coming in nice and belt high and just pulled the trigger. There it went,” Chapman said about getting out of slump and going yard in the third frame.
“After that first pitch curve he (Hovenstine) threw in the dirt. I knew he had to come back to me with something good and there it was (fastball).”
Mount Carmel head coach Brenton Eades said he spoke with Chapman about his struggles to start the season, but believed in his ability to change his fortunes at the plate.
“It’s actually funny, because last year he was an all-conference infielder and he was second on our team in batting average, but coming into the game he was 1-10. He and I talked yesterday and I said, ‘Baseball will beat you down. It will keep you down. You just got to keep battling. You’re a great player. You just got to break out,’” Eades said about Chapman entering the contest with SCA.
The Red Tornadoes scored eight runs in the third inning and sent 12 batters to the plate as Anthony Stutzcavage drilled a 2-run single and Tommy Reisinger had a run scoring double — both hits came before Chapman’s round-tripper.
Southern fought to create trouble for MCA starting pitcher and Vanderbilt commit Thomas Schultz during the game and moved runners along in the second inning.
Senior Jacob Petro led off the frame with a single to center. After Schultz struck out Preston Zachman and Braden Heim swinging, Zach Bainbridge was hit by a pitch. Schultz walked the tightrope some more as Dorran Wetzel walked to load the bases. Schultz made it through the jam by getting his counterpart, Hovenstine, to strike out swinging.
“I thought our approaches at the plate against Thomas (Schultz) were much better than they were against Hughesville and Lewisburg. We just have to take better approaches to the plate. We can’t let somebody like that come out and overwhelm us,” Southern Columbia head coach Mike Myers noted about his team facing Schultz.
ON THE DOCKET
Mount Carmel will host Danville (2-1) on Tuesday. Southern Columbia will travel to Montoursville (3-0) on Wednesday. Both games will have 4:30 p.m. start times.