Recently, Salesianum athletics have been on top of the high school sports mountain winning the state championship in lacrosse, soccer, football and basketball.
As the freezing temperatures have begun to give way to more spring-like weather, many have wondered if Sallies could possibly take another title, this time on the diamond.
While a 0-2 start to the season would be a rough beginning for any team, it can be especially damming for a team with postseason aspirations and beyond. However, Salesianum started off the season against two quality opponents. First, they fell in a close game to Caravel, last year’s runner-up to state champion St. Mark’s. Then, they suffered a 5-1 loss to Pennsylvania’s Malvern Prep, ranked number one among independent schools in the keystone state, in a contest that was 1-1 after five innings.
On Saturday, Salesianum embarked on their second non-conference game of the year against Sussex Central who came into the game at 1-0 after a 10-0 victory over Milford. While the Golden Knights had yet to give up a run heading into Saturday, things were about to change drastically for their ball club. Salesianum scored 10 runs in the first two innings on their way to an 18-2 victory over Sussex Central.
Sussex Central starter Dustin Reynolds was making his first start of the season after pitching two scoreless innings in the Golden Knights’ win over Milford. Though, the Salesianum bats got to Reynolds early, putting four runs on the board sending Reynolds to the dugout after just one inning.
Sallies’ Daniel Garner put the explamation point on the first inning clearing the bases with an inside-the-park grand-slam to give Salesianum the 4-0 lead and chase Reynolds from the game.
“Danny is a talented player,” said Salesianum head coach Ted Godfrey. “And we’ll be counting on him to be a big contributor to our line up.”
Sussex Central junior Brody Grove was brought in to pitch the second and unfortunately fared no better giving up another four runs in bottom half of the second inning and Salesianum led 10-0.
After giving up another Salesianum run in the third, Sussex Central found some offense scoring two runs in the top-half of the fourth inning thanks to a Brent Hansen triple.
Salesianum exploded for another big inning in the bottom half of the fourth scoring seven runs this time around. After going scoreless in the top half of the fifth the 10-run mercy rule was put into effect ending the ball-game.
When all was said and done, the Salesianum offense busted out 18 runs on 11 hits. Some would say Salesianum was taking out their frustrations after two tough losses to start the season, however, Godfrey believes it was all due to execution.
“I wouldn’t say that we were letting out frustrations,” said Godfrey. “We were just coming out trying to execute and play a good game to try and get a win. Sussex Central is always a good team and they’re extremely well coached so we were fortunate to come away with a win by such a big margin.”
Perhaps lost in the shuffle was the job Salesianum starter Matt Shackleford did on the mound Saturday. Shackleford was credited with a complete-game giving up just two runs while scattering five hits.