Satin, Strayer deliver as Plant shuts out Newsome
Plant lefty Robert Satin works as part of his complete-game, four-hit shutout effort (photo by Chuck Frye).
Story and photos by Chuck Frye
TAMPA – Sometimes a team’s best laid plans can only go so far.
Coming to Plant High as an underdog in Tuesday’s Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal, Newsome head coach Dick Rohrberg decided to use a little Rays-like management of his pitching staff.
“(Junior) Evan (Dempsey) has struggled in the first inning as a starter all year and (sophomore) Ryan Spitzer in relief has been good all year so we decided to use Ryan as an opener then come with Evan,” Rohrberg explained. “We thought we had nothing to lose.”
Newsome leftfielder Ethan McSpadden threw to second baseman Luke Peterson to retire Plant runner Thomas Bolton (6).
The strategy worked for the first trip through the second-seeded Panthers’ lineup but the host squad’s bats came alive at the most opportune times, using two big blasts to cruise to an 8-0 victory over the No. 7 Wolves.
“We’ve gotten a lot of contributions from a lot of people in the lineup,” Plant head coach Dennis Braun said. “We’ve been pretty good at getting some guys on base and making some things happen up and down the lineup.”
In the bottom of the third, after a base-running error by junior Jack Meade almost ran Plant (21-6) out of the inning, it was starting pitcher Robert Satin’s bat that gave the junior hurler an easier night on the bump.
Newsome third baseman Anthony DeVito puts down the tag to catch Plant’s Jack Meade (3) retreating to the bag in the third inning.
Satin ripped a 0-1 pitch over the centerfielder’s head to score DH Conley Strayer (walk), Bryce Pelleriti (single) and Thomas Bolton (hit by pitch) and give the Panthers an early 4-0 advantage.
“I was a little nervous at the start and then we got things going,” the junior southpaw said. “My double was probably the biggest part (to help me relax). We got hype after that and I just let Newsome hit the ball and trusted my defense.”
The D certainly supported Satin, especially second baseman Tanner Swank, whose hustle turned a shallow fly ball into a third-inning double-play, and redemptive first baseman Meade, who dove to his right to snag a hot grounder for a sixth-inning out, then soared to his left to snatch a Braden Moon liner down the first base line in the seventh.
“Jack’s very versatile for us,” Braun said. “He plays outfield and moves to first when Robert pitches and he’s done a great job defensively. He’s a good athlete, runs the bases well – and ran them a little too well one inning – and had a great night at the plate. His ability to do a lot of things is a big part of this team.”
Plant head coach Dennis Braun waves home Thomas Bolton (6), who scored on Robert Satin’s third-inning, bases-clearing double.
“I talk to a lot of my teammates before games to get me going,” said Meade, who had a third-inning RBI single before Satin’s blast and a run-scoring double in the fourth. “My adrenaline plays a big role in who I am, and I like to be a leader on this team and get the team fired up.”
Strayer provided the game-clinching drive in the fourth as his towering fly landed over the rightfield fence for his team-best third round-tripper, bringing home Swank (walk) and Meade as well as himself.
“We call Conley our old man as he’s been in the lineup the longest,” Braun said. “He’s been a good hitter for four years and we need him to step up every day. He always does something pretty well for us.”
Plant’s Conley Strayer crosses the plate after his three-run homer in the fourth inning
Despite getting doubles from Lucas Phelps, Caeden Diaz and Moon, Newsome (17-7) couldn’t string together hits against Satin, who finished with a complete-game, four-hitter with eight strikeouts. The Wolves’ best scoring chance came when they loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth only to come up empty.
“The seniors could have run this team by themselves,” Rohrberg said of a squad that rebounded from a 13-11 2021 for its first playoff berth in three seasons. “They took on a big leadership role and lead by example. But we just had some areas with really young players and it hurt us.”
The Panthers will host upset-minded East Lake Friday night. The No. 6 Eagles journeyed to Sarasota Tuesday and took down No. 3 Riverview, 4-3.
⚾ Class 7A-Region 2 Qtr ⚾
N 000|000|0 – |0|4|1
P 004|400|0 – |8|8|1
W – Satin (7-1); L – Dempsey (6-4)
2B – Diaz, Moon, Phelps (N); Satin, Meade (P); HR – Con. Strayer (P). Records – N (17-7); P (21-6).