Grabbing the early lead in any sport is an advantage that often produces positive results.
In Sunday night's Keystone Senior Babe Ruth playoff at Christman Field, The Franklin Township Hurricanes jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead and rolled to a 13-1 mercy rule win.
The victory allows the Hurricanes to remain alive in the loser's bracket of the double elimination.
"Coming out with an early lead is always nice," said Hurricanes head coach Rick Strohl. "I thought it was really important to do that in order to get the win against a good team like Forks."
The Easton-based Forks Township team only had nine players at its disposal, but Franklin Township didn't take the opponent lightly.
The Hurricanes' strong start began with pitcher Mike Hickey.
"Mike started us out really well and I thought he pitched great for us," Strohl said. "He looked really good in what was his first start in a while and that helped us out in the long run."
Hickey retired the side in the second inning and the third to keep the Forks' squad at bay, as his team built a sizeable advantage on the scoreboard.
After the bottom of the third, Franklin Township was leading 7-0.
In the bottom of the first, back-to-back walks got runners in scoring position. An RBI single by Dane Ciavarella began the onslaught. Derek Hefflefinger scored on a flyout and Ciavarella scored on an ensuing error by Forks. A two-run single by Alex Matika made it 5-0 after one inning.
In the second, similar back-to-back walks proceeded an RBI single by Steve Shanton. In the third, an RBI single by PJ Salermo provided the seven-run swell before Forks finally got on the board.
In the top of the fourth, Ryan Briskie led off with a single. Three batters later, Matt Coles provided his team with their sole run on an RBI single.
"I think the errors in the first inning really killed us," Forks Township head coach Nick Martino said. "They got five runs in that inning and I think our guys just started to get tired and it took its toll."
The 'Canes put up three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Two walks and a couple of wild pitches brought Shanton home. After Ciavarella reached on an error, Heath Markley smacked a shot to the outfield that combined with another error to bring in two more runs.
In the bottom of the fifth, two walks and a RBI single by Shanton provided one run and when Billy Angst hit his two-run double, it ended the game due to the 12-run rule.
"I thought down the stretch, Dan Dailey coming in relief did an excellent job for us," Strohl said. "He gave us two solid innings of pitching to seal the win."
In the game, Markley finished with a 3-for-3 effort with three RBIs and a run scored. Shanton added two hits.
Franklin Township will return to action tomorrow night at Christman Field.
Forks Township 000 10 - 1 2 4
FT Hurricanes 511 33 - 13 13 0
B. Martino, Piggott (2) and Rodriguez; Hickey, Dailey (4) and Shanton. W-Hickey, L-B. Martino.