Palm Beach High School Baseball
Mastering the Mental Side of Baseball

Schoch Slams Jensen Beach Past Coral Springs Christian

Falcons second baseman Hunter Schoch is awaited by teammates at home plate after a third inning grand slam in Jensen Beach's 8-1 win.

As the calendar keeps turning and the temperature that the state of Florida is best known for continues to rise, the heat is also reaching the bats of the state’s best baseball teams. With temperatures hovering around the high 80s on Wednesday, the Jensen Beach Falcons offense rivaled the sun’s rays, scoring often in an 8-1 win over Coral Springs Christian.

“We’re definitely feeling good after today’s win. We’ve put up over 25 runs in the past two games and it’s always good to see the bats come alive,” said Falcons manager Corey Cooke. “Our approach is really to take some pitches while waiting for the right one, and it’s still a work in progress but we’re really getting better. We don’t want to help the pitcher out, and if the pitcher isn’t throwing strikes or doesn’t have the best control, we’re not gonna swing — we’re gonna let him come to us.”

The big blow on offense came from second baseman and number nine hitter Hunter Schoch, who hit a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the third inning to push his team’s lead up to 8-0. After already scoring once in the inning and increasing the lead to a still-close 4-0, Schoch took advantage of a pitch and sent it flying over the left field fence.

“I was trying to put a good swing on a good pitch and I was trying to go opposite field, but pulled the ball on accident and ended up with a grand slam,” Schoch said after the victory. “Today was definitely a really good team win, one where everyone contributed and did what they needed to. I felt like Chase had a great day on the mound, he was throwing his heart out and we were doing our jobs behind him.”

Crusaders pitcher Coby Mayo talks with teammates after being drilled by a comebacker in the first inning. Mayo would stay in the game and pitch into the third for his team.

Previously in the inning, three straight walks and a hit-by-pitch — all of which came after consecutive groundouts to begin the frame, had driven the lead up to 4-0. Cooke was extremely pleased with the patience displayed by his team on Wednesday. All in all, the team had five walks and worked the count to at least two balls in the majority of their at-bats.

Benefiting from his team’s offensive explosion was senior Chase Nugent, who pitched five innings of one-run ball before turning the ball over to reliever Shawn Blake to start the sixth inning. Nugent, who entered the game with a 2.70 ERA, struck out six and allowed just five hits on the mound.

“Our pitchers have only given up two runs in the past two games,” said Cooke. “Chase did great today, throwing strikes and mixing it up. He’s a battler and he’s always tough to hit. After Chase hit around 60, 70 pitches, we decided to take him out, get some of our other pitchers in the game. I’m definitely really happy with what I saw from Chase today, though.”

Jensen Beach got things started early, with Ryan Rivera tripling to lead the game off and Lyon Richardson driving him in with a line drive that went off Crusaders starter Coby Mayok. Like a fighter, Mayok stayed in the game and preceded to retire the next two hitters with a double play and a groundout.

Senior Chase Nugent pitched five innings on Wednesday afternoon and allowed just one run for the Falcons.

Unfortunately for Coral Springs Christian, the first inning would be a sign of things to come as Jensen Beach added another two runs in the bottom of the second. Senior captain Fernando Pinyero started the inning with a single to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch and reached home after a sac fly from third baseman Sam Oliver and a wild pitch.

Left fielder Taylor Higgins, just moments after Pinyero scored, then put on his own show on the bases by singling, swiping second and third on wild pitches, and scoring on an RBI single from Rivera.

Mayo pitched 2.2 innings before being pulled, though he did pitch better than the box score indicated and induced plenty of ground balls. Coral Springs Christian scored their lone run in the fifth inning following a lead-off double from  Kevin Gutierrez and a one-out RBI by teammate Jordan Sabates.

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