by Steve Batko | Correspondent
A doubleheader sweep wasn't all bad after the Streetsboro baseball team traveled south for its annual trek to head coach Chris Scisciani's alma mater, Steubenville.
Playing the twinbill April 12 at Vaccaro Field against the strong Big Red, Streetsboro held its own in the first game, a tough 5-2 loss.
It was different story in the second game, a 14-4 loss. Streetsboro committed 10 errors in the second game. The Rockets dropped to 2-4 overall, while Steubenville moved to 5-2.
Scisciani was thrilled with how his club played in the first game, which was tight until Big Red pushed across two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to gain the lead for good.
"We played extremely well in the first game and were up 4-2 in the second game [through two innings] when the wheels came off for us," he said. "We did not have a good showing in the second game."
Steubenville outscored the Rockets 12-0 from that point as Streetsboro had field miscues galore.
Junior Chad Konik lost the opener on the mound. Sophomore Bobby Dixon was the losing pitcher in the second game.
"Konik kept them off balance pretty well with that knuckleball and we had several opportunities with runners in scoring position, but we could not produce a big hit," Scisciani said.
The coach praised senior Gage Simpkins for his offense in the doubleheader (two singles and a pair of doubles) and senior Austin Szemacs for his hitting and pitching in relief.
"Simpkins was on fire, while Szemacs and [senior Nate] Bailey were swinging the bat well,"said Scisciani.
The staff also praised freshman left-handed pitcher Jarrod Vecchione for his work in relief.
"Jarrod came in and pitched well, throwing strikes for the most part," Scisciani said.
Thanks to a big five-run fourth frame, the Rockets posted a 10-5 victory over Rootstown April 10 on the road. The win pushed Streetsboro to 2-0 in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
Trailing 4-3, the Rockets scored five runs in the top of the fourth. Streetsboro added two more runs in the seventh as the Rockets finished with eight hits to the Rovers' 11. Streetsboro did not commit any errors.
Simpkins got the win on the mound, while Bailey had two singles, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Junior Chase Galinsky added two singles and a run scored and Szemacs had a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Banged up senior Alex Bison also had a double and a run scored.
Host Streetsboro earned an 8-3 win over Rootstown (0-5, 0-2) April 9. The Rockets overcame a 3-0 deficit with four runs to make it a 4-3 lead with a big bottom half of the third inning.
Ricky Delambo, a junior hurler, picked up the win on the hill for Streetsboro as he scattered six hits and finished with six strikeouts to improve to 1-1 this spring. He did not issue a walk.
"Ricky threw really well and had a great game," Scisciani said. "We had a meeting after a recent loss to Windham and I thought our focus got much better. We broke it down to a fundamental standpoint -- even from the start of the routine of stretching before each game.
"It worked and it had helped even up until the second game at Steubenville."
The Rockets did not have any fielding errors and got some help at the plate, forcing out starter Anthony Testa early.
Szemacs had two hits, including a double, and four RBIs. Bailey added two singles and two RBIs. Josh Riley led Rootstown with two RBIs.
Streetsboro was scheduled to visit County Division rival Southeast April 14 before returning home to play the Pirates April 15. Results of those games were not available at press time.
The Rockets are set to visit James A. Garfield for a County Division showdown April 17 in Garrettsville. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m.
Streetsboro is set to host PTC foe Ravenna April 21 at 4 p.m. before heading to Kent Roosevelt for a PTC contest April 22 at 4:15 p.m. The Rockets are scheduled to entertain Kent April 23 at 4:15 p.m.
"We have signs of greatness at times and yet, we just need to be steady as a team," Scisciani said.