Under most circumstances, a high school baseball team that gives up 21 runs in two games is not doing much winning. Fortunately for Quince Orchard, its offense has been firing on all cylinders to start the season—the Cougars scored 28 runs off 26 hits in wins over Seneca Valley (16-11) and Damascus (12-10) on March 27-28 to improve to 4-0 in 2019 (as of April 1).
With a young team returning only two starters, the early success has served as a major confidence booster, Cougars coach Jason Gasaway said. In their last three games, at least six players notched one or more hits and three different players—seniors Bryan Gurcan and Eric Wong and sophomore Sean Krissoff—have tallied four hits in a single game.
“We’ve had a lot of production up and down the lineup,” Gasaway said. “Guys are getting two-out hits, there were a lot of innings that could easily have been over and then all of a sudden we’ve scored two or three runs. (Hitting) has come from everywhere and as an opposing team, it’s hard to try and pitch around everybody.”
But the offense is likely to have its ups and downs as the season progresses and in order to truly establish itself as a postseason contender, Quince Orchard will need to find consistency on the mound and in the field. And the Cougars do have some experience up the middle with Gurcan behind the plate for the second year and junior shortstop Griffin Snyder. Junior Brennan Ellis, who transferred in this year from St. Johns, has made an immediate impact in right field.
Quince Orchard’s pitching predicament has nothing to do with numbers—of the 19 players on the roster, 15 can be used as pitchers. But with such a short season and preseason hindered by remnants of winter, there have been few opportunities for Gasaway and the coaching staff to figure out the right combinations, he said.
“With only a handful of scrimmages, we’re trying to figure things out based on bullpens and practices,” Gasaway said. “We’re limited to a sample size and sometimes it’s trial and error.”
Senior Bradley Pasekoff, whose three innings of work a year ago exceed the varsity experience of anyone on the pitching staff, went 5 2/3 innings in a season-opening win over Einstein. Pasekoff also pitched four innings against Damascus. The Cougars only gave up four hits in that game, but walked 10 batters.
“If we throw strikes, we’ll be OK,” Gasaway said. “It’s a matter of making those adjustments in practices to throw strikes during the game. When we were throwing strikes, we gave up only one run in each of our first two games. If we can get back to that, we’ll be fine.”