By Phil Anastasia
Donovan Casey brought order to the chaos of a crazy Colonial Conference baseball game.
But the Sterling senior wasn't happy after his team's 15-8 victory over Haddon Heights in a ragged clash of old rivals and Liberty Division contenders on Friday morning.
"Even though we won by a lot, we didn't play to our potential," Casey said.
Casey, a Boston College recuit, earned a three-inning save, retiring all nine batters with four strikeouts. He also rapped a pair of RBI singles.
Senior catcher Jim Sayles was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, senior second baseman Matt Giambri was 3-for-5 with three runs and senior shortstop Ryan McGoldrick rapped a double and two-run triple for Sterling (4-4 overall, 3-2 in the Colonial Liberty).
Senior designated hitter Spencer Goodman delivered a two-run double for Haddon Heights (4-4, 4-3).
"I'm proud of the way they battled," Haddon Heights coach Eric Newell said of his players.
Neither coach was happy with his team's defense and both were left shaking their heads in dismay at the events of the fourth inning, when both teams batted around and combined for 12 runs thanks in large part to six errors.
"We're searching for a high school baseball attitude," Sterling coach Chris Hoffman said. "We've had it here for 15 years and we don't have it right now.
"We've got nine seniors but we're not getting any senior leadership."
One positive for both teams was the way they battled back from deficits. Haddon Heights was behind 5-1 when the Garnets scored seven in the fourth as Ian Lynch contributed an RBI single and Goodman drove his two-run double into the gap in right-center field.
"We needed to ride the momentum and we didn't do it," Newell said. "We needed a shut-down inning and came out and had some breakdowns defensively."
Sterling reponded to the 8-5 defict with a five-spot in the bottom half of the fourth, with Casey and Sayles slapping RBI singles and two more runs coming across on an infield throwing error.
The Silver Knights added five more runs in the sixth as Giambri cracked an RBI single and McGoldrick delivered his two-run triple.
"We haven't been hitting and we did start to put some good at-bats together today," Hoffman said. "Our pitching has been there all year. But we didn't make the routine plays."
Casey's 9-up-and-9-down performance stood out in bold relief in a game that featured 23 runs, 18 hits, nine walks and nine errors.
The right-hander didn't allow a ball out of the infield until a soft fly to shallow center for the final out.
"He's had a little bit of a dead arm so we just wanted to get him three innings," Hoffman said of Casey. "He did a great job."
Casey said it was high time for Sterling's seniors, himself included, to pick up their game as they approach the midpoint of their final season.
"We started out 0-2 and I was like, 'Oh, we'll be OK,'" Casey said. "Then I started to worry that maybe it was getting away from us.
"As a senior, I need to start getting on everybody. I should be on them and that goes for myself, too.
"I have to pitch in. We all have to do a better job."
Haddon Hts. 001 700 0 -- 8 5 5
Sterling 410 505 x -- 15 13 4
WP: Brent Ewald. LP: Alec Stein.
2B: HH-Ryan Lynch, Spencer Goodman; S-Ryan McGoldrick, Andrew Miller.
3B: S-Tyler Blair, Ryan McGoldrick.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org