A few moments after the Ellet baseball team defeated Firestone 12-7 on Tuesday, Orangemen scorekeeper Janis Sarver turned to her husband and shared a few laughs.
The song Happy by Pharrell Williams played over the Ellet public address system as Janis and John Sarver, Ellet’s coach, chatted following a three-hour game.
It was appropriate considering the long winter that has carried into the spring.
Everyone in attendance was happy to be outside amid sunshine and warm temperatures after seeing snow, rain and cold temperatures regularly blast the area.
“Getting outside to play a game was nice,” John Sarver said. “It was basically, mentality-wise, like a scrimmage because this was the first time out on dirt and we had the wind to contend with.”
Strong gusts didn’t slow down Ellet batters, who out-hit Firestone 16-9 in each team’s season opener. The Orangemen made six errors to the Falcons’ three.
“It basically came down to being happy that we were able get outside,” John Sarver said. “Compounding on top of that, is we were playing Firestone, our league rival. That made it difficult when they were in the ballgame, and we were tied 5-5 [in the fourth inning], and you got your best pitcher on the mound [senior Zack Artis] who is struggling, then you are in a little bit of trouble. Luckily, [senior] Konner Klein picked us up a little bit and was able to throw enough strikes and get people out. He didn’t give up too many runs and we were able to score. We put some crooked numbers on the board.”
Ellet scored four runs in the first inning and fourth inning, and added one in the second and three in the fifth.
Klein, a Walsh Jesuit transfer, also hit two doubles and one single, and batted in two runs.
“I grew up with everyone in this dugout,” Klein said. “It is a great feeling to come back and play with all my friends that I grew up with. I missed it when I went to Walsh because I didn’t have many close friends there.”
Ellet seniors Andrew Neal and David Smethers both hit three singles and scored twice.
“We put the ball in play,” said Neal, who batted in three runs. “That was key.”
Smethers showed his speed and shined as Ellet’s ninth batter in the lineup.
“I just needed to get out there and put the ball on the ground,” Smethers said. “I popped up in my first at bat. I know if I put the ball on the ground I can get on base.”
Ellet junior lead-off man Andrew Knicely hit two doubles and scored three runs. Senior Brandon Arnold hit two singles, scored two runs and an RBI. Senior Christian Burkhart scored twice and senior Jacob Isenhart had two RBI.
“I believe we have 15 or 16 guys that can play real well in this game,” John Sarver said. “It will be tough making out lineups.”
Senior Damien Goostree hit an RBI triple, singled and scored twice for Firestone. Junior Kody VonStein contributed two singles and an RBI.
“I saw a lot of positives today,” Firestone coach Aaron DeBord said. “Defensively, we need to step up our game a little bit. Our pitchers did exactly what we asked and I thought our hitters, for the most part, played well. In a game where you walk two batters and you score seven runs, your defense has got to find a way to get you a win.”
Ellet, which has 14 seniors on the roster, started nine seniors and one junior Tuesday. Firestone started four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.