With the regular season winding down and the District 10 playoffs on the horizon, the job for the Titusville baseball team is simply to take care of business over its last few games.
As of Wednesday night, job well done.
The Rockets closed out the Region 4 portion of their schedule, and moved to .500 on the season, with a 15-0, three-inning rout of Seneca yesterday at Art Pearson Field.
With the win, Titusville gussies up its record to 8-8 overall, 7-7 in Region 4. This comes after a 3-5 start to the season, and a 5-3 finish. The Rockets managed to flip two results in the second half — against North East on May 14 and against Franklin this past Monday.
The Rockets have a chance to finish the regular season above .500 when they face non-region opponent Oil City on Friday at Art Pearson.
By the time that game is over, the Rockets should have a better idea of what their playoff future has in store.
“We’re getting ready now for the big step,” said Titusville head coach Roy Schweitzer. “We’ve got one more with Oil City on Friday. And hopefully we made a good enough impression that we’re going to get in there and be ready to go.”
The D-10 Class 3A quarterfinals are scheduled to start this coming Monday. There are eight slots in the bracket.
It looks like Titusville is line to get the fifth seed. Of course, the Rockets won’t know for certain until District 10 crunches the numbers and puts out the official bracket. And there are still some games remaining that could change the seeding.
“Tomorrow night Franklin and Fairview play each other,” said Schweitzer. “That will determine who we play next Monday. The brackets won’t come out until Friday. It’s a wait-and-see thing right now.”
However it shakes out, Schweitzer is pleased with his squad for positioning itself nicely for a playoff run.
“We had to go,” he said. “We had to win these games to get to where we’re at right now. It feels good now. But we had to do what we did the last few games to get into the position that we’re in. So they stood up. They accepted the challenge. Right now we seem to be hitting our stride. And that’s a good thing. We get on a roll for the next two weeks and that’s a District 10 championship you’re talking about, if we can keep it going.”
It has been quite a solid week and a half for the Rockets, from its 7-1 win over North East last week, to a stunning 14-2 throttling of Franklin on Monday.
“We went out there and played every out really hard,” said Schweitzer. “That’s the way its been — the North East game, the Franklin game, today’s game. We played every out hard, whether we made a mistake or did well we played hard.”
Granted, there weren’t a whole lot of outs to play in the Seneca game — just 19 needed.
Kolin Baker pitched all three innings for the Rockets. He gave up a bloop single to Bobcats leadoff hitter Reed Yost. After that: no hits, no walks, five Ks.
“The big thing was Kolin going out there and throwing strikes and manhandling the game,” said Schweitzer. “That bloop single in the first, nothing you can do about it. Kid put a good swing on it. You’ve got to tip your hat sometimes. But (Baker) settled down, threw strikes, threw a three-inning shutout. He did exactly what we needed today.
“And,” Schweitzer added, “our hitting came through. It was great to see.”
The Rockets finished the game with nine hits. Derek Beach and Michael Canter had two apiece, a single and a double each. Ashton Burleigh, who hit three doubles in Titusville’s last two games, had a fourth on Wednesday. Hunter Titus also slugged a double.
After the game, the Rockets held their second Senior Day recognition of the season — this one for the 2020 seniors that never got a chance to take the field due to the spring season being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those seniors included Zach Abrams, Andy Fish, Danny Jones, Braden Roberts and Zach Rodgers.
Four of the five were on hand to be recognized by the fans in attendance, and to receive a goodie bag from this year’s seniors, who themselves were honored last week after the North East game.
“We’ve been wanting to do that for (the 2020 seniors) since the beginning of this season,” said Schweitzer. “They deserve that. All the work and effort they put into the program, they deserved one last time with the team. They led the way for us. There’s a lot of respect for them and gratitude for what they started up. And this is just a little piece that we could give back to them.”