Along the foundation of the legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s ‘Pyramid of Success’, one will find the following qualities: Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, and Enthusiasm. Those traits have been a calling card of coach Eric Pellegrini’s in regards to his two-years of service as the leader of the East High School baseball program. Within each of those two seasons, improvement has been made since the first pitch until the final out.
In 2013, Coach Pellegrini had to replace six starters with very little baseball experience; however, the youthful Panthers hung tough with Liberty’s varsity team as they fell 8-2 in seven innings in just the second game of the season.
After dropping to 0-5, Pellegrini concentrated on what was hampering his group. “As a team, we sat down and identified the areas that were causing us difficulty [walks, errors, and batting strikeouts],” said the Westminster graduate. “[We] set goals to improve on all of those areas. Our focus seemed to improve after that for most [of our] games.”
The Panthers’ drive to success was achieved on May 4 when the team knocked off Mathews’ JV team, 14-1.
The following day, East drew the Lakeside Dragons as their first round opponent of the Division I tournament. After giving up seven unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning, the Panthers did not give up.
“We weren’t able to get our offense going,” said Pellegrini. “Our defense stepped up to keep the game from getting out of hand.”
East’s season came to a close following their 12-0 loss in the Sectional Semifinal in Ashtabula.
Mike Gregory, one of the senior captains, led the club in hitting (.410) while accumulating 16 hits in 39 at-bats. Last season, Gregory hit .229 (8-35) with two stolen bases and not a single extra base hit. In 2013, #2 finished with 12 steals and seven extra base knocks (six doubles, one triple). Senior third baseman Joe Ingram, who did not play last year, put together a strong campaign. Number 10 hit .400 (14-35) while leading the Panthers with 13 RBIs, 14 steals, and a .564 on-base percentage. First baseman Calvin Scott improved upon his junior season. In 2012, Scott did not record a base hit in 14 at-bats. This year, he earned a .240 batting average with six hits in 25 at-bats. Calvin walked just once as a junior compared to seven times as a senior. His fielding percentage shot up from .846 (19 put outs) in 2012 to .907 (63 put outs) this past season.
First-year players Jeremy Woodberry (11-43) and Brandon Jackson (10-39), both sophomores, each accumulated a .256 batting average. Woodberry scored 10 times while Jackson crossed the plate on 11 different occasions. Jeremy led the team with 24 fielding assists while Brandon was a key cog in the center of the outfield, as well as, on the hill (8.64 ERA, 15 Ks).
Freshman Imoni Donadelle was a nice surprise to the pitching staff. Donadelle tossed 18.2 innings while starting four games and striking out 15 opponents. Imoni was the winning pitcher of East’s only win in 2013. Number 12 led the team with an earned run average of 6.15.
“Even though the record (1-15) was not what we wanted, there is potential for improvement with some freshmen and sophomores playing key roles [throughout the year],” pointed out Coach Pellegrini.
One can recognize that East has progressed in each of the last two campaigns in each facet of the game. On the mound, the team ERA has dropped from 15.87 to 11.78. Opponents are averaging 8.3 hits per contest compared to 9.7 a year ago.
The strikeout number has risen from an average of 2.9 to 3.9. The fielding percentage has also risen from .669 to .731.
In 2012, the Panthers were able to compile nine extra base hits as a team with one player able to accumulate double-digit hits and steals. This year, East belted 17 extra base hits with four players finishing with 10-or-more hits and three with double-digit base swipes.
2013 Individual Statistical Leaders
1. Mike Gregory, .410 (16-39)
2. Joe Ingram, .400 (14-35)
3. Jeremy Woodberry, .256 (11-43)
3. Brandon Jackson, .256 (10-39)
5. Calvin Scott, .240 (6-25)
1. Mike Gregory, 16
2. Joe Ingram, 14
3. Jeremy Woodberry, 11
1. Mike Gregory, 12
2. Brandon Jackson, 11
3. Jeremy Woodberry, 10
1. Mike Gregory, 6
2. Joe Ingram, 4
3. Jeremy Woodberry, 2
3. Josiah Douglas, 2
1. Mike Gregory, 1
1. Joe Ingram, 14
2. Mike Gregory, 12
3. Brandon Jackson, 11
Earned Run Average
1. Imoni Donadelle, 6.15 (16 ER – 18.2 IP)
2. Brandon Jackson, 8.64 (20 ER – 16.2 IP)
3. Jeremy Woodberry, 12.46 (34 ER – 19.1 IP)
1. Imoni Donadelle, 1-3
1. Jeremy Woodberry, 19.1
2. Imoni Donadelle, 18.2
3. Brandon Jackson, 16.2
1. Mike Gregory, 19
2. Imoni Donadelle, 15
2. Brandon Jackson, 15
Fielding Percentage (min. 10 chances)
1. Calvin Scott, .907
2. Jeremy Woodberry, .813
3. Brandon Jackson, .811
1. Calvin Scott, 63
2. Brandon Jackson, 22
3. Jeremy Woodberry, 15
1. Jeremy Woodberry, 24
2. Mike Gregory, 19
3. Joe Ingram, 8
3. Brandon Jackson, 8
Stats courtesy of Coach Eric Pellegrini