Springfield 4, Aston Valley 3

Paytas on point for Springfield in Delco League starting debut

By Terry Toohey This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. @TerryToohey on Twitter

 From the Daily Times posted 6/26/2019

With only 11 players in uniform, and pitching arms in short supply, Springfield needed a solid outing Tuesday from starter Michael Paytas.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a 17-year-old rookie making his first Delco League start and just his second appearance in the oldest semiprofessional baseball league in the country.

Paytas handled the situation like a veteran as the Colonials topped Aston Valley, 4-3, to snap a seven-game losing streak at Church Road Field.

The righty scattered eight hits over 5⅔ innings before giving way to veteran Norm Donkin, who got the last four outs to record the save.

“My fastball was working, and my curveball,” Paytas said. “My knuckleball was working, too. Sometimes it can be off and on, but today it was pretty on.”

Paytas, a recent graduate of Marple Newtown, was not overpowering. He only had one strikeout, but he hit his spots and received a solid defensive effort from his teammates. The Colonials only made one error and that was in the second inning.

Paytas also took a little different approach on the hill than he had in his two outings with the Tigers this season.

“A lot of high school kids chase a lot, so you can throw balls and get strikeouts,” Paytas said. “These guys don’t do that as much. You have to locate your pitches.”

That’s good experience for someone who hopes to continue pitching in college when he gets to Penn State-Brandywine.

“Just being in this atmosphere is a great experience,” Paytas said. “Most of these guys have been through college, so I pick up certain tips that I don’t get playing legion or high school ball.”

As for the Colonials (4-12), the win was a welcome relief for a team that has suffered five one-run losses and had not won since June 11.

“The beginning of the year we had some really good players who left to go play college summer ball, which kind of hurt our numbers,” said Donkin, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. “We have high school kids like Casey Vaughn and Mike Paytas stepping up, showing up and proving that they can hang in the Delco League. It’s good to see them get out here and get some experience.

“We’ve been in a lot of the ballgames, it came down to a break here or there, a ball we should have caught or a hit we should have gotten,” manager Bill McMenamin said. “That’s baseball. You just have to hang in there.”

The Colonials hung in and took advantage of four Aston Valley errors which led to four unearned runs. Gabe Encarnacion drove in Springfield’s first run and scored the winning run on a double steal in the bottom of the fourth inning that was set up by a throwing error.

“We booted the ball around too much early,” Aston Valley skipper Marc Spero said.

Aston Valley starter Phil Sanborn and reliever Sam Perrone did a good jobs keeping Springfield’s offense in check. The Colonials only had five hits. Only one of those safeties, a double by catcher Luke Piontek, went for extra bases.

The Knights also received two hits and one RBI apiece from John Schoelkopf and Billy Pena, but it was not enough to offset the

errors or the work Paytas did on the hill.

“He did a great job,” Donkin said. “He locates well. He has a nice, loopy curveball that keeps hitters off balance.”

“He said he’d like to catch and pitch (in college), but I told him to concentrate on the pitching because if he gets a little stronger and gets a little movement on that ball, I think he can do pretty well there,” McMenamin added.