Seneca Valley’s Jason Martin blasted two home runs on Friday in the Raiders’ 7-3 victory over the Golden Tornado.
TYE CYPHER/SPECIAL TO THE EAGLE
JACKSON TWP — The Seneca Valley baseball team’s undefeated section title came in the wake of a power surge, courtesy of Jason Martin. The senior outfielder belted two home runs Friday to lift SV to a 7-3 victory over Butler at Raider Field. It was the Section 1-AAAA finale for both teams. The Raiders (14-2, 10-0) had already clinched a playoff spot, but running the section slate without a setback made it even more memorable. “Being able to help the team accomplish this, it’s very special,” said Martin, who also pitched the final 1 1-3 innings against the Golden Tornado. “Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into the playoffs.” Martin’s first blast of the day came in the bottom of the first inning. With his team already enjoying a 2-0 lead, Martin sent Cory Wheeler’s fastball over the right-center field fence, scoring courtesy runner Dan Barna in front of him. The second home run came two innings later. Wheeler delivered another fastball and Martin again got all of it, this time for a solo shot that put the Raiders up 6-0. SV had five extra-base hits after just three innings. “He had already hit a few home runs this year,” SV assistant coach Tom Magill said of Martin. “He went through a mid-season slump, but has a lot of power. Even with the wind blowing in today, he hit those balls so well, they still went out. It was a big boost for us.” “Earlier this season, I was out in front on a lot of pitches,” Martin said. “Now I’m staying back and have been seeing the ball really well lately.” Seneca Valley starting pitcher Zach Spangler was the recipient of the 6-0 edge and was dominant early in the game. Through the first three innings, the senior right-hander allowed just one baserunner — on Wheeler’s two-out double in the first frame. Two SV errors prolonged the fourth inning, but Spangler was able to leave the bases loaded by striking out Kyle Campbell to end the threat. With one out in the sixth, Zach Spangler surrendered a single to Wheeler and walked Drew Spangler. After a flyout, a fielding error allowed Wheeler to score Butler’s first run. Campbell’s single scored Drew Spangler and Mike Hepler came home when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. With the score now 6-3, Zach Spangler was relieved by Martin. The former still got the win after striking out five and walking two. “Zach was a bit tired entering the sixth, but he still looked pretty strong,” Magill said. “But after the errors, they scored a few runs there and it was time to take him out.” In all, the Raiders made four errors on Friday. “We’ve been fielding the ball well all year,” Magill said. “Today, guys were letting the ball play them. But for me, it’s an anomaly. We’re not worried about it being a problem.” After the Raiders added an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth, Martin set the Tornado down in order in the final inning. Butler (1-16, 0-10) ended the game with five hits. “We wanted to shorten our swings today and concentrate on putting the ball in play,” said Butler coach Todd Erdos. “We still ended up with too many balls hit in the air without much behind them. That’s been a problem for us all year.” Wheeler took the loss after striking out three and walking one in three innings. Jesse Savisky pitched the remainder of the game, allowing just the one unearned run in his three innings on the mound. Seneca Valley head coach Eric Semega missed the game due to a family commitment. Butler 000 003 0 — 3 5 4 Seneca Valley 411 001 x — 7 10 4 W: Zach Spangler 5.2 IP (5K, 2BB). L: Cory Wheeler 3 IP (3K, 1BB). Butler (1-16, 0-10): Cory Wheeler 1B 2B R, Drew Spangler R, Mike Hepler 1B R, Kyle Campbell 1B RBI, Ryan Vero 1B Seneca Valley (14-2, 10-0): Jon Dorogy 2B 2R, Johnny Brittner 1B R, Sam Fragale 1B, Carson Kessler 1B RBI, Gianpaul Gonzalez 1B, Jason Martin 2HR 3RBI, Connor Coward 1B 2B R, Alex Hajduk 2B RBI, Dan Barna R Monday: Shaler at Butler; Plum at Seneca Valley