Mariners sail to 10-0 win against Spartans
15th of April
DUBLIN – THE visiting Mariners sailed to an easy 10-0 win against the Spartans at Corkagh Park on Saturday. Spartans batters fell silent against a barrage of breaking balls, never mounting an offensive threat in the seven inning match-up.
Junk-baller Daniel “Woody” Woodburne kept the Boys in Green off-balanced, inducing weak contact, and was backed up by a solid Mariners defense. Woodburne fanned five in six innings of work, allowing only one walk and four hits. At times it seemed the Spartans couldn’t buy a hit. Even when Spartans captain Jimmy Pita ripped a line drive up the middle, the centre fielder Eric Kelly denied him with a sliding grab. Lefty James “Big Mo” Kelly was convincing in one inning of relief to close the book on the Spartans chances at a comeback.
Newcomer David Casey struggled with command in his second Spartans appearance on the mound, getting off to a rough start as the Mariners took an early lead in the first. Walks, mental mistakes, and a costly error set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. An unexecuted wheel-play left third base wide open for the taking, putting the first run ninety feet away, and a routine fly-ball managed to find the outfield grass. Instead of two outs with a runner on second, the Spartans quickly found themselves in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. The Mariners would score four more over the next two innings, knocking Casey out after three innings of work.
There were positive signs from the young hurler with an electric arm. Captain Jimmy Pita said the velocity on his fastball was there and his slider had excellent movement. He just needed to pound the zone more. He had too many deep counts and got behind early.
Casey said he “didn’t feel amazing” and he’s “still coming back from an arm problem so I’m still working back to 100 percent, but there’s no excuse for walking guys.” He said he “felt better in the second and third” after working out a problem with his fastball but “lacked confidence” throwing his slider with runners on. It’s a lethal pitch so throwing that with confidence will be key for his success this year.
Despite issues on the mound, the Spartans batters didn’t provide any support for their starter. “It was just an off day for our offense, ” Casey said. “The top half of our lineup is the strongest in the league and I have full confidence in that.”
When asked about the move from Ashbourne to the Kings of Corkagh, Casey said he feels “great about being on the Spartans this season. We have the best infield in the league.” He said this start was better than his last and his next will be even better. Pita believes Casey is “gonna be a Spartan legend” one day, a point on which he has “no doubt.” That confidence, Casey said, has “helped me out of a lot of situations.”
Cosmin Rocca came on in the fourth and slowed the Mariners down with good command and consistency. Rocca’s breaking ball had great depth and the Mariners didn’t score any runs in his first two innings of work, keeping the Spartans in the game. They scraped one across in the sixth and, with two outs in the seventh, Daniel Sweatland cleared the bases with a single that saw him standing on third base after a relay miscue, stretching their lead to ten runs.
“He was more consistent throwing strikes, “ Pita said of Rocca’s performance. “In our league it’s those pitchers that throw strikes who are successful.”
In the fifth, a questionable call at home plate erased the only possibility of the Spartans getting on the board. After left fielder Lucas Spiro reached on an error, catcher Devin Carihill bounded toward home, trying to capitalize on the Mariners mistake and spark a comeback. Carihill slid head first into the dish in his characteristic aggressive baserunning style, possibly just getting under the tag, before being called out by the home plate umpire.
The Spartans ran themselves out of a couple of innings, which is something they will look to minimize in their next game against the defending champion Giants in Ashbourne. Even without Sergiou Susanu, last year’s league MVP, the 2023 Spartans roster is one of the strongest they’ve put out there. They jockeyed for first place all last year, losing out on an automatic trip to the finals and a league pennant when they lost the deciding ultimate game of the regular season to the Mariners. More competitive games between these two teams can be expected in 2023.
On how to bounce back, Pita said they will have veteran ace and workhorse Brendan Scott back who will bring “stability and consistency on the mound.” At the plate “we need to be aggressive” and “go after the Giants pitchers,” he said.
Final score – Spartans 0, Mariners 10
Text: Dublin Spartans Facebook
First Official Game = First Victory for the Cork Renegades
16th of April
Hosting the Dublin Spartans at our new home Tank Field, we saw such team spirit amongst us, from the players, the scorers, the guest umpire, the families and friends ROARING from the sidelines.
It was a well fought game with both sides showing great ability but ultimately it came down to a final inning Walk.Off.Grand.Slam to win it for The Renegades.
Such a poetic start to our season. How can you not be romantic about baseball!?
Still a long way to go, but we are here to stay.
Final Score: Cork Renegades 20 Dublin Spartans B 16
Text: Cork Renegades Baseball Club on Facebook
Image Courtesy – TH (Dublin Spartans)