SALEM — It was certainly not the start to the 2014 season that the Salem High baseball team was looking for.
The Witches had trouble fielding, hitting and pitching yesterday afternoon at Palmer Cove and visiting Lynn English showed little mercy, pinning an 11-1 loss on the hosts in a five-inning mercy rule game.
“We’re not going to make excuses. Every team has been dealing with the same conditions (as far as getting outside to practice),” said Salem head coach Paul Caron. “I take full responsibility. We were not ready to play and that’s on the coach.”
Lynn English (1-0) starter Michael Troy had his way with the Witches, fanning 13 of the 20 hitters he faced in those five innings. The right-hander mixed his offspeed pitches nicely with a hard fastball as Salem was never able to figure him out. The strikeouts were a by-product of Troy’s ability to consistently get the ball over the plate.
“You have to give (Troy) credit. He came out and threw first pitch strikes,” said Caron. “We need to be more aggressive. When the pitcher is throwing first pitch strikes, we have to let our hands go.”
Salem starter Matt Marquez lasted two innings before being relieved by Christian Montenez, who lasted an inning and a third. Wesley Schaejbe tossed the final inning and a third.
Marquez looked good at times, but a multitude of walks allowed elevated his pitch count early on. “He struggled a bit with command, we took advantage and got some free bases,” said Lynn English coach Joe Caponigro. “And we were able to steal some bases.”
The Bulldogs scored a pair of runs in both the first and second innings before breaking out with seven runs in the fourth to take an 11-0 lead. The Witches also made seven errors.
Salem did get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. After Josh McRae capitalized on an error by Bulldogs’ first baseman, Salem’s Samuel Arias-Ramirez ripped a double down the third base line, allowing McRae to score. The hit broke up both the shutout and Troy’s no-hit bid. However, it was the only hit the Witches managed.