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Editor's Note: The story has been updated to reflect an error in the ticket voucher price. We previously reported they are $25. They are actually only $20. We also switched the order of the story to Brin the voucher part of the story to the top.
Photos are official head shots of the Oakland Athletics organization and team photo courtesy of Uriah Sampson.
The Titusville Rocket baseball team has been having quite the brush with the Major League Baseball so far this year.
The Rockets were among a handful of high school teams to have the opportunity to play on a big league field when they played last week at PNC Park.. “It was pretty surreal being on the field.” Sampson said
The team now has to sell $20 vouchers for limited Pirates' home game tickets, can't be used on concert nights or certain holidays.
Schweitzer said they have until the end of the season to sell the tickets. He said contact any member of the baseball team, their family or the coaches for more information. More information: Email Roy Schweitzer at email@example.com
Their game at PNC was shortened because the ground crew said the game was over. They were down 3-1 against Athens High School, a very good baseball team from up in the northern center of the state. Athens' has played at PNC a couple times before.
Kasen Neely, the starting pitcher, only gave up three runs on four hits in his three innings of work. Kam Mong held Athens to only one hit in his two innings.
Jaxon Covell had the one RBI in the first.
Earlier this season the team got some unexpected gear thanks to alum J. J. Bleday. Bleday sponsored them through New Balance to get the team shoes and the school knew warm up gear.
According to assistant coach Uriah Sampson each player got shoes they can keep and warm up gear that will stay with the school for years to come.
"We were fortunate J.J. sponsored us with New Balance,” Rocket head coach Roy Schweitzer said after after a recent practice.
Bleday currently is playing Triple A ball in the Oakland Athletics organization, but just last year played for the Florida Marlins against the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park.
Coach Roy Schweitzer says he gets nervous before every game. Wednesday's game in Oil City his team eased his nerves right off the bat jumping out to a four nothing lead in the top of the first.
Seven Rockets recorded a hit in the game. "We were putting the bat on the ball," Schweitzer said. "We were pretty consistent at the plate with our approach, being aggressive going after strikes and laying off the off speed outside pitches."
Schweitzer said the team played a well rounded game offensively and defensively. He said the last inning runs were probably the first seventh inning runs of the year praising his players for staying focused and aggressive.
"We put together a pretty good ballgame," he added.
Next up is Franklin on Friday. "Franklin's got the program everyone is envious of, I don't care what their record is right now, I think they're .500, but they're pretty good," Schweitzer said. "They got the big guy (Luke Guth) down there. Not sure if we'll face him or not, but they are good and we respect them. We're expecting a good game and the best team is going to win Friday."
Below are more photos from the Oil City game. See even more Titusville baseball photos from this year at: https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/titusvillerocketbaseball2023
Editor's Note: We are currently working with the Titusville News-Journal providing Titusville Rocket sports coverage. We don't always post in a timely manner on our page to give the paper first publishing when appropriate. We love local collaborations with our friends in journalism. This game was first published in the News-Journal March 31st in their sports roundup.
To see more photos of the Rockets games please visit:
View more photos at: https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/rocketsoftball2023
In the second inning Gabriella Peterson lead off with a single, but Oil City’s starting pitcher Shalyn Whittemore struck out the next three batters. Peterson made it to third on a couple pitches that got away from the catcher but was stranded there.
The third got going whenTitusville's second batter Briana Wynn tripled. She was quickly plated on a fielder’s choice to shortstop by Adkins. It looked like Titusville would mount a rally after loading the bases bringing a visit to the mound by Oiler head coach Michelle Hoovler. Whittemore struck out the next batter and retired the side with a ground out back to her at the mound. The rockets left three ducks on the pond.
Jordan Wynn continued to pitch well. She had eight strike out in the contest but around the end of the fifth inning Hoovler noted something with the young pitcher.
"We felt (Wynn) was starting to struggle a little bit," Hoovler said. "She was starting to throw more balls. So we were trying to wait her out.” Hoovler told her players to be patient at the plate and don't chase pitches. The strategy worked.
Oil City clawed away and got a run in the sixth to trail only by one going into the final frame. Titusville couldn’t add any insurance runs and Oil City got a lead off single followed by two patient walks to load the bases with no outs.
In an attempt to change the momentum, Titusville’s strong-armed catcher, Adkins, threw a laser down to third to catch an unaware Oil City runner off guard. The throw was in plenty of time but wasn’t handled by Briana Wynn and it trickled into the outfield allowing Libby Arnink to score the tying run.
Then freshman Sophia Garmong came to the plate and hit a fly to right that just couldn’t be handled and the Oilers scored the winning run.
“It was a tough loss,” Titusville head coach Megan Green said after the game.
She said her pitcher just wasn't getting the calls on the edge of the plate like she usually does and the frustration on Wynn’s face and in her body language was plain to see.
“She is young and she has to learn how to battle out there,” Green said. “And she will. Varsity ball is way different from travel ball.”
Green tells her team that they can't let someone else dictate whether they win or lose and to put themselves in positions to win.
A few key errors cost them in the end, the throw to third and a dropped pop fly. She pointed out the play late in the game when Oil City’s Nysa Hanlon line drive nicked the top of Riley McGarvie’s glove at second bace and ended up in right field. “One more inch,” Green lamented.
“They are close,” Green said of how good her team is. “They need to learn how to embrace adversity, and how to handle that, and how to cope with that. We need to keep them engaged and in it for seven innings”
Green complimented Oil City who is now 3-0.
“They seem to have a good group and they are capitalizing on that,” she said. “We have a good group too… they just have to believe it.”
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Eight & 27 focuses on stories centered around Titusville, PA. With the sad end of The Titusville Herald, we're hoping to pick up the slack.