The bright white baseball rocketed off the bat of Gabe Smith and climbed into the light blue sky above Penn Charter's baseball field.

On a blustery day, the fourth-inning blast caught a timely gust and easily cleared the fence in right-center field.

Luckier still for Smith, a senior centerfielder for the Quakers, he was out of earshot when his head coach quipped to those sitting behind third base.

"He's lucky that went out," said David Miller, who was coaching third base. "I gave him the 3-0 take [sign]."

Save for the occasional missed sign, it was all smiles on Saturday for Penn Charter, which dispatched Cardinal O'Hara, 8-0.

"[Miller] doesn't put on a lot of signs," Smith said, smiling. "On a 3-0 count, I wasn't expecting him to put on any signs. I didn't look down there, to be honest. I said to myself, 'If he throws it down the middle, I'm just going to load up on my back foot and take a nice, easy swing.' I was just lucky to make contact, and it went out."

The Quakers (1-1) were already in control, 7-0, before Smith's blissful ignorance capped the day's scoring. Dillon Malandro went 2 for 4 with two RBI and blasted a double that helped the Quakers to three runs in the first. They followed with four more in the third.

Despite windy conditions, starter Kyle Konowal controlled the plate efficiently and earned the victory. He needed just 73 pitches to complete six innings.

"It was really tough," Smith said. "Taking [infield/outfield practice] in the beginning gave an idea of how it was going to be fielding. Luckily, our pitchers kept the ball down in the zone and made the other team hit a lot of ground balls."

Phil Boyle had two of O'Hara's five hits. Unfortunately for the Lions, they also committed five errors.

If not for a friendly wind, Smith's faux pas might have drawn his coach's ire.

"Any other day I wouldn't have known, but with the wind today I kind of knew it would just carry out," he said.

"He said I got a pass because I hit it out," the Gladwyne resident continued. "But if it was anything else, he would have given me a hard time."

Smith said he has an academic scholarship to La Salle University, where he will also play baseball.

Until then, however, he hopes to finish his Penn Charter career in style.

"We won the Inter-Ac last year, tied with Malvern," he said. "One thing our school hasn't done is win the Inter-Ac and also win the independent state tournament. So winning those two would kind of cap this . . . run and really solidify us as one of the greater teams to come through Penn Charter.

"I think that would be a great way to go out."

Cardinal O'Hara 000 000 0 - 0 5 5

Penn Charter 304 100 0 - 8 7 1

WP: Kyle Konowal. LP: Kevin Sessa. 2B: PC-Adam Holland, Ken Bergman, Dylan Malandro; CO-Chris Salbey. HR: PC-Gabe Smith.