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Datres' best performance leads Sock over South
May 3, 2013 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- Kyle Datres didn't particularly care for what head coach Jeremy Eck was telling him when he returned to the Loyalsock dugout following a dicey third inning. Eck was ready to go to his bullpen after Datres allowed two runs in the third, especially after having seen his sophomore right-hander struggle with his command.
Datres, Loyalsock's ace pitcher who has struggled to find consistency this year, expressed his displeasure with Eck's decision to pull him off the pitcher's mound.
"I told him it's the last thing you'll ever do," Datres said with a smile after the game. "We got into a little argument in (the dugout), but that's how all player/coach relationships work."
Seeing the fire in his pitcher's actions, Eck sent Datres back to the mound. He watched the sophomore complete his longest outing of the year, throwing all seven innings in a 12-4 win over South Williamsport. The Kyle Datres who took the mound in the first three innings was nothing like the Kyle Datres who took the mound over the final four innings yesterday at South Williamsport Community Park.
He went from struggling to consistently locate any pitches to looking like the ace who helped lead the Lancers to a District 4 title a year ago. Datres retired 10 in a row bridging the fourth and seventh innings, throwing 64 of his 101 pitches (63 percent) for strikes.
"I went back to him because I believe in him. He's a gamer," said Eck, who joked about the dugout exchange with Datres following the game. "I've always said this about Kyle Datres, when it matters most, he finds a way to get it done. That was a gutsy performance out there."
It was the performance Datres has been waiting for all season. He's spent much of the spring struggling with his command and his mechanics, working in one or two-inning stints out of the Lancers' bullpen, closing out games. Friday night, though, beating a previously unbeaten South Williamsport team (11-1) may turn out to be the turning point in his season.
Loyalsock was already without pitcher Luke Glavin because of an injury, and another key contributor to the pitching staff left the team. Datres is the team's most experienced big-game pitcher, and after grinding through three innings and giving up three runs last night, Datres settled in.
After a leadoff walk in the fourth inning on four pitches in a 3-3 game, Datres didn't allow another batter to reach base until he walked Nick Mistretta with two outs in the seventh inning with the Lancers holding a 12-3 lead. Datres scattered five hits, but allowed only one, a Justin Knee RBI single, after the third inning.
"That fifth inning when he threw seven pitches, we knew we had Kyle back to where he needed to be," Eck said. "This is the time we need to get him back to where we need him to be."
As Datres worked through the first three innings, he struggled to locate his fastball but found some confidence with his breaking ball. It was a true swing-and-miss pitch as South batters had to prepare for a mid to high-80s fastball. And when he got command of his fastball in the fourth inning, he was nearly unhittable.
"I've been working with it at practice. Now that I've got some more innings in me, I feel like it's coming back," Datres said. "I was just putting it in there and my fielder's were making plays. That's how it's supposed to be. I did my job and they did theirs."
In a 3-3 game, Loyalsock, which won its 10th consecutive game, made its biggest mark offensively in the fourth inning thanks to catcher Bailey Young. The right-handed hitter worked a walk in a 15-pitch at-bat against South's Billy Rummings that included nine two-strike foul balls.
Rummings labored through that fourth inning, giving up a two-out, two-strike RBI double to nine-hole hitter Phil Krizan, and a two-out, two-strike RBI single to Jimmy Webb to give Loyalsock a 5-3 lead it never relinquished. Rummings threw 42 pitches in the fourth inning after throwing just 47 in the first three innings combined.
It was an approach Eck liked seeing as his players saw an average of over four pitches per plate appearance last night. The patience helped the Lancers drive Rummings from the game after four innings. The five runs Rummings allowed all came with two outs, and three came on two-strike pitches.
"He didn't have his best stuff," South Williamsport head coach Shawn Finn said. "He threw well enough to give us a shot to win. But he threw a couple 0-2 pitches they got base hits on that were the difference early on with him. He was laboring through four innings and it's the middle of the season, so we're not going to push the issue with him right now."
Datres also broke out of his offensive funk in the final two innings hitting a two-run single past a drawn-in infield in the sixth inning which gave Loyalsock a 7-3 lead. He punctuated his day with a two-run home run to left field in the seventh inning, his first homer of the year.
"I haven't seen too much from (Datres) in the paper this year as far as hitting, but he's still a great athlete," Finn said. "He's going to perform when he needs to. He did well. We hit some good, hard balls. But he gutted it out and threw well overall."
Loyalsock 12, South Williamsport 4
Loyalsock 201 202 5 -- 12 11 1
South Williamsport 102 000 1 -- 4 5 1
Kyle Datres and Bailey Young. Billy Rummings, Cody Nelson (5) and Justin Knee. W--Datres. L--Rummings.
Top Loyalsock hitters: Kyle Datres, 2-4, home run, 4 RBIs, run; Jimmy Webb, 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Robbie Kline, 2-4, double, RBI, run; Tommy Baggett, 1-4, RBI, run; Bailey Young, 1-3, double; Phil Krizan, 2-3, double, triple, 4 RBIs, 2 runs. Top South Williamsport hitters: Tyler House, 1-4, run; Justin Knee, 2-4, RBI, run; Anthony Caruso, 2-3, RBI.
Runners in scoring position: Loyalsock 7-12; South Williamsport 2-8.
Runners left on base-in scoring position: Loyalsock 4-4; South Williamsport 5-5.
Pitches-strikes: Loyalsock -- Kyle Datres 101-64. South Williamsport -- Billy Rummings 89-60; Cody Nelson 65-37.
Records: South Williamsport (11-1, 10-1); Loyalsock (13-1, 10-1).
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