WHEELING - Visiting Brooke pounded out 12 singles and took advantage of four bases-loaded walks in rolling past Wheeling Central 14-4 during the opening game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex.
Five different Bruins collected two hits each, including winning pitcher Heath Hildreth, who helped his own cause with three RBI for Coach Ron Ujcich's team.
''We pitched real well (Saturday) and except for a couple of blunders in the in field we played a lot better on defense," Ujcich said.
Hildreth delivered 116 pitches in his complete-game performance and squirmed his way out of four bases-loaded situations that had Maroon Knights coach Jimbo Wodusky.
''We just can't manufacture runs,'' Wodusky said. ''We had nine hits and just four runs. Bases loaded in the first inning, then we left two on in the second and three more in the third and we scored just one run. Right now we just can't get hits when we need them.''
The Maroon Knights also the sacks jammed in the fifth inning when they pushed across a couple a runs and again in the sixth but scored just once in that situation.
Central's pitching also was a concern after three Maroon Knights hurlers walked a dozen batters, including four with the bases loaded during the top of the sixth when the Bruins scored six times to bring the 10-run mercy rule into effect.
''Pitching was one of our strong points early but lately it hasn't been,'' Wodusky said. ''They say hitting is contagious but so is the whole game itself. If one thing is struggling it leads to the next thing and sometimes you don't recover from it. We'll keep working at it until we get everything back on track.''
Brooke scored once in the first and three times during the top of the second to take a stranglehold.
Rusty Schwertfeger worked Central starter Anthony Tighe for a walk on a 3-2 pitch to open the game and he eventually scored when Paul DiPasquale rapped a single to right field. Three Maroon Knight errors, a walk and singles by Austin Schambach, Schwertfeger and Nick Breen boosted the advantage to 4-0 in the second frame.
Central finally got on the board in the bottom of the third as Mic Keys walked and Patrick Biega's RBI double on a line smash down the left-field line.
The Bruins went up 8-1 an inning later after four walks, two more Central errors and singles by Schwertfeger, Hildreth and Steven Jeffries led to their four runs. Hildreth picked up two RBI on his base knock up the middle and Jeffries' single also accounted for a run.
Central got within 8-3 in the bottom of the fifth after a dropped fly ball in center field opened the flood gates. Brandon Gast singled to put two runners aboard, followed by RBI hits from Justin Hammers and Ian Yahnke. After Tighe walked to load the bases, a strikeout ended the threat.
Brooke's six-run top of the sixth rally included a two-run single by Schambach and bases loaded walks to Brent Pellen, Kellen Welch, Breen and DiPasquale.
The Maroon Knights got within 10 runs again and had a chance to extend the game after Hammers' RBI base knock kept the bases loaded with two out. Hildreth retired Ian Yahnke on a fielder's choice to end the game.
Joining Heath with two hits each for the Bruins were Schwertfeger, Breen, Jeffries and Schambach.
''Our bats are coming around,'' a pleased Ujcich said. ''We put a little extra time in the cage this past week and I like the way we are putting the ball in play.''
Nick Naumann led Central's nine-hit attack with three singles. Biega's double was the only extra base hit in the game and he later added a single. Hammers acounted for RBI on both his singles.
Brooke 8, Wheeling Central 6
WHEELING - Jeffries tripled, doubled and drove in a run, while Breen and Schambach each laced two hits as Brooke capped the sweep.
Schwertfeger added a double and a single for the Bruins.
Tighe and Keys had two singles for the Maroon Knights, while Bakaitis had two hits (double) and an RBI.