EAST LAKE — Friday night’s north Pinellas showdown between host East Lake and Countryside got off to a promising start. Eagles coach Dan Genna’s 4-year-old daughter, Kamryn Padinske, managed a rousing rendition of the national anthem and the Eagles jumped on Cougars starting pitcher Charlie Skantze.
The Eagles logged three runs in the first inning. Countryside got one back when Skantze sent a pitch over the leftfield wall in the fourth.
However, the clouds moved in and the lightning meters went off, and after two delays the game was called at 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After sophomore Ryan Wall cut down the Cougars 1, 2, 3 in the first inning, the Eagles’ Troy Strominger hit a leadoff single. Doug Rovello walked and Grant Hodges, after beaning Genna with a foul ball, singled into right, driving in the first run. The Eagles were pushing runners from the outset.
“We figured the best way to get them was to get them early,” Genna said. “We came out ready tonight.”
Skantze saw this and threw to first to throw out a leading off Hodges, but Genna had sent Rovello from third to home. The Cougars missed getting Hodges or Rovello and gave up another run. Brad Deppermann drove in the third run with a single to center.
Things were quiet until the fourth when Skantze went deep left to etch the final score at 3-1. The Cougars went down in order in the fifth before the lighting and rain showed up. Having played enough of the game, it was given to East Lake.
Wall went five innings, struck out six, walked one and gave up only one hit. Skantze pitched four innings, struck out four, walked one, gave up five hits and three runs. He had the Cougars’ only hit.
The win establishes East Lake as the top team in the northern region of the PCAC with three games to go in that race. It also serves as a fine setup for the Eagles’ trip to the Dunedin Spring Tournament next week.
“We’re doing the right things to keep well-rounded,” Genna said.