Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
LAFAYETTE — Hitting can be infectious, and Erie baseball seems to have caught the bug as of late.
On Thursday afternoon at Centaurus, the Tigers relied on their bats to lift them to a 15-5, five-inning victory over the host Warriors. While the RBIs spread far and wide with six boys adding their names to the scorebook, only junior shortstop Holden Pantier was able to knock one over the left-center field wall.
That two-run home run in the top of the second inning, which accounted for the fourth and fifth run for the Tigers, continued the hitting clinic that has defined Erie baseball early into the 2022 season. In just the last three games, the Tigers have put up 36 runs.
“It really shows us what we’re doing good this season,” Pantier said. “Bats are doing awesome, defense is awesome, pitching’s awesome, but it also shows us where we need to work, where we need to improve. In games like this, there are still things you can work on, things you can do better. Overall, we have a lot to take away from this and we’re going to come back and play a better game on Saturday.”
Even with that kind of offensive production, Erie has struggled a bit to pull together some consistency through their 3-3 record. Head coach Dustin Conley hopes that with a little more practice and working on the small things, the Tigers can start to record a few more consecutive victories.
“It’s a good win because we took care of business like we were supposed to,” Conley said. “The kids, they’ve got to buy in a little bit here. Having different coaches all the time, it’s been hard on them. Coming in, they’ve just got to work and we’ve got to get consistent.”
Much like Erie, Centaurus is still trying to figure out its identity on the diamond just two weeks into the spring season. The Warriors are fielding an incredibly new team this year, having returned just four major varsity players while adding eight underclassmen to the bunch.
Towards the end of the game, in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Warriors started to wear down Erie pitcher Dillon Alcouffe and steal a few hits off him. While junior shortstop Brandon Korn started the Warriors’ day with an RBI in the first inning, it was junior first baseman Jakob White who added another in the last one.
“We’re very young,” Centaurus head coach Douglas Kinney said. “We have two seniors that start and the rest are sophomores or our freshman pitcher today. Some of the strengths that we have is we have a good younger core that is starting to understand varsity baseball and contribute on both the defensive side and the offensive side. We have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year with our young guys developing.”
With much of the season still ahead of them, both the Tigers and Warriors have plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles in their games. They’ll meet up again on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. for the immediate rematch.
No matter what happens that day, Thursday’s meeting was a step in the right direction for both squads.
“I felt like overall, we played a pretty good game,” Korn said. “They just hit the ball where we weren’t a lot and there is some stuff we could have done better, but I feel like we had good energy today and just got to improve on it and move forward.”