ADAMS TWP — Mars baseball coach Brian Hobaugh sat on the dugout bench and stared at the baseball field at the Mars Athletic Complex.
He was trying to wrap his head around what had just happened to his Mars baseball team against Pine-Richland Monday afternoon.
The crooked numbers told the story:
Pine-Richland, 21 runs, 16 hits, no errors.
Mars, zero runs, eight hits, four errors.
“I told my guys I was embarrassed, totally embarrassed by this,” Hobaugh said.
Mars (7-5) didn’t have its usual lineup or its No. 2 pitcher in this non-section, 21-0 loss to the Rams. Nate Furl was scheduled to pitch for the Planets, but left school Monday with an illness.
Leadoff hitter Ben Erdahl, who is batting nearly .500 this season, didn’t play until he was used as a pinch runner in the fourth inning.
“We played some other kids today,” Hobaugh said. “One of our goals was to try to get the whole team involved. Not that we weren’t playing to win, but I wanted to play some different kids here and there, give them some ABs. The expectations don’t change.”
Caulen Hershman got the start and could have gotten out of the first inning unscathed, but the inning was kept alive on a catcher’s interference call. The next batter, Shea Sullivan, ripped a two-out, two-run triple for a 2-0 Pine-Richland lead.
Things got much worse in the second inning when the Rams scored 11 runs and sent 16 batters to the plate.
Pine-Richland tacked on eight more runs in the fourth to trigger the 15-run mercy rule.
“Pine-Richland hit the heck out of the ball; give them credit,” Hobaugh said. “We have guys who aren’t getting it done.”
Rams’ coach Kurt Wolfe was understandably happy with the way his team played, not just because the Rams scored 21 runs, but because of their approach at the plate.
Pine-Richland (9-2) drew eight walks — three with the bases loaded — and didn’t rest on its 13-0 lead.
“We don’t change anything,” Wolfe said. “I told them ‘don’t get into bad habits.’ We had the same approach. It’s not about the score. It’s about having quality at-bats. You try to stay at that high level, but still respect the game itself. We’re not here to show anyone up.”
The question now is can Mars bounce back today when it resumes its section slate against Kittanning?
“I do,” Hobaugh said, “but we need to seriously look in the mirror and ask, ‘what am I doing to contribute to the team right now?’”
Pine-Richland 2(11)0 8xx x — 21 16 0
Mars 000 0xx x — 0 8 4
W: Jack Hudak 3IP (3K, 1BB). L: Caulen Hershman 1IP (0K, 3BB).
Pine-Richland (9-2): David Laylock 1B RBI, Jamie Switalski 2B 2-1B 3-RBI, Daane Berezo 1B 3-BB 2-RBI, Shea Sullivan 3B 1B 4-RBI, Jack Hudak 1B 2B 3-RBI, J.T, Riley 1B RBI, Zac Hunkele 3-1B 2-RBI 3-R, Joey Professori 3-1B 3-R
Mars (7-5): Tyler Reginell 1B, Alex Smith 2-1B, Matt Eperesi 1B 2-SB, David Bednar 1B, Nick Mosso 1B, Josh Bartley 1B, Colin Stewart 1B
Today: Mars at Kittanning