Don Rehrig gave some simple instructions to his Franklin Township Shockers' prior to their Keystone Babe Ruth League game with the Panther Valley Black Diamonds.
The first piece of advice was meant solely for Shockers' starting pitcher Alex Storm, who was making his first start of the season. The second was in the direction of the whole team when they faced opposing Black Diamonds' pitcher Mark Williams.
It didn't take long for Rehrig's instructions to pay dividends.
The Shockers erupted for five runs in the bottom half of the first and breezed to a 13-1 five-inning victory over the Black Diamonds.
"The biggest thing I told Alex before the game was just to throw strikes, let them put the ball in play and just let our defense play the game," Rehrig said. "He had a couple of walks here and there, but he battled throughout and made some good pitches to get them to hit some ground balls and our defense played really well. You can't ask for more when a guy gives up one run.
"I told my hitters to just to put the ball in play. If you're not swinging, you can't get on base. We took advantage of their pitcher throwing strikes by being aggressive and putting the ball in play. We also took advantage of some of their mistakes."
The Black Diamonds did get to Storm in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Zack King led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI single by Williams. Dave Marouchoc moved Williams to third with a single. The first heads-up play by the Shockers' defense was when Williams and Marouchoc attempted a double-steal, but thanks to the play of the Shockers' shortstop Jimmer Farano and catcher Anthony Farole they caught Williams at home.
Marouchoc's single to right proved to be the last Black Diamonds' hit in the game. Storm only recorded three strikeouts but received plenty of solid defensive plays the rest of the way.
"I was pleased with the fact that we came out swinging the bats," Panther Valley coach Chris West said. "We have lacked aggressiveness at the plate from time to time. That has been our downfall this season. There were games where we came out and exploded on offense, but then there were other games where we were flat on our heels.
"Tonight, we came out and jumped on the ball early and stayed with it. But give Franklin Township credit. They did a nice job defensively and we couldn't catch up because of it."
Meanwhile, the Shockers cashed in one hit and five Black Diamonds miscues to take a 5-1 lead after one. AJ Wenrich and Vince Mele delivered run-scoring singles to key a three-run second inning.
Two-run singles by brothers Jimmer and Anthony Farano and a RBI-single by Jordan Knappenberger put the finishing touches on the Shockers' third win of the season.
The Black Diamonds slip to 2-4 on the season.
Black Diamonds 100 00 - 1 3 5
FT Shockers 530 05 - 13 8 1
Williams, King (5) and Marouchoc; Storm and Farole. W - Storm. L - Williams.