A highly successful basketball campaign kept three of Pennridge's stalwarts - Danny Long, Joe Molettiere, and Joe Unangst - from being regular participants in winter baseball workouts.

Was that cause for concern for Rams coach Tom Nuneviller?

"No," he said matter-of-factly. "They all have experience and have played in a lot of baseball games."

With those three playing key roles, Pennridge racked up 11 of its 13 hits in the first four innings (rain came in the sixth) and blanked host Central Bucks East, 9-0, in the Suburban One League Continental Conference opener for both squads Tuesday afternoon in chilly Doylestown.

Long, a junior shortstop and pitcher, launched a three-run double to left field in a four-run second; Molettiere, a senior righthander, struck out seven and yielded only one hit in three innings; and Unangst, a senior catcher, went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.

"We didn't have any worries about those guys being ready to go," said David Tatoian, a senior second baseman and pitcher. "They're such good athletes."

Long posted four strikeouts over the last three innings. Like Molettiere did in the first, he whiffed the side in the sixth.

Of lifting Molettiere after three innings, Nuneviller said, "We're taking it slow with him because he hasn't pitched too much. He's not at full strength."

Pennridge went 13-7 and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA playoffs last season. The year before, it reached the state semifinals before being ousted by eventual champion North Penn.

"We have some veteran guys who are really hungry to win something," said Nuneviller, whose squad opened Monday with a 13-3 nonleague triumph over Palisades.

Against C.B. East, which was held to three singles in its first official outing, Tatoian registered an RBI single up the middle in the first and an RBI double to center in a three-run fourth.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Tatoian, a four-year starter who is headed to Gwynedd Mercy, pitched the fourth. He mixed a fastball, curveball, and change-up.

Said Nuneviller: "He's a mentally tough kid. He's going to battle you, give you his heart in every game."

C.B. East, coming off a 10-9 season, is led by senior shortstop David Yanni, a Pittsburgh recruit.

"We have seven or eight returning starters," Patriots coach Kyle Dennis said. "The big thing for us is sorting out our pitching staff."

Pennridge 141 300 0 - 9 13 0

Central Bucks East 000 000 0 - 0 3 1

WP: Joe Molettiere. LP: Sam Andris. 2B: Danny Long, David Tatoian, Caleb Hand.