The Union County baseball team that lost the Union County Invitational championship to Seton Catholic earlier this season is different from the one that hosted the Cardinals in a doubleheader Saturday.
A season full of playing together has the Patriots in full gear and swinging hot bats.
Union County exploded with 30 combined hits Saturday, sweeping the Cardinals with a 23-3 five-inning victory in Game 1 and a 7-0 shutout in Game 2.
Seton had beaten Union County 7-2 in mid-April, winning the Union County Invitational.
But on Saturday, the Patriots proved to be too much, batting around in the first inning played, sending eight to the plate in the second, then batting around twice in a 13-run third inning.
The two wins Saturday move the Patriots to 22-6, tying a school record for wins, according to head coach Jeff Mathews.
“That game was awful early,” Mathews said of the 7-2 loss. “That was early April when all that happened and we were still trying to feel ourselves out.
” … We’re peaking. We’re playing well, we’re hitting on all cylinders, we’re running well, we’re hitting the ball well, the pitching is solid.”
Isaak Snyder went 4-for-4 with three doubles, Bryce Fields went 4-for-4 with one two-bagger, Hunter Miller homered and doubled, Hunter Hartman homered and singled and Austin Fuller, Jullian Snyder and Ryan Niehoff had a double each in the opener.
Jullian Snyder had two hits that game, then flirted with a no-hitter in Game 2, as he went the distance from the mound to pick up the win.
Hartman had a great diving catch in the left-field gap to start the fifth, but Seton’s Adam Dolesh followed with a ground-ball single up the middle to break up the no-hit bid.
“We had no idea. We’re just trying to play good defense and keep it going strong,” Hartman said. “We had a good game going. We didn’t know it was a no-hitter, but we knew that we had to play good defense too.”
Hartman homered again in Game 2, sending a fastball over the left-field fence to start the bottom of the fifth inning, and had two hits that game.
Isaak Snyder had three more hits in Game 2, a single, double and a triple, while Jake Goecke, Miller, Jullian Snyder and Shane Mosley each had a hit.
“The run support today was phenomenal,” Jullian Snyder said. “Here recently, for just about all of our pitchers, we’re coming alive. We’re all realizing what it’s going to take to win a sectional and we don’t have any plans of stopping. Everyone wants to go and we’re going to take advantage of every bit that we have.”
Snyder held the Cardinals to three hits in Game 2, a single each from Adam Dolesh, Adam Schroeder and Tyler Dolesh. Ryan Pipenger doubled twice for the Cardinals (15-13) in Game 1, while Nate Brouse also had two hits that game.
“Offensively, we’re still struggling,” Seton coach Jason Howard said. “We have to try to figure this thing out in the next week or we’re going to be one and done in the tournament.
“All the credit to Union County. One through nine, they smacked the ball around. They’re a good baseball team.”