With his first fall practice season as head coach of the Youngstown State baseball program nearing completion, head coach Steve Gillispie saw the Penguins grow and show signs of promise over the past five weeks.
Gillispie and his staff used the fall season for both teaching and talent evaluation, putting YSU's players in plenty of competitive situations and scrimmages. The season ended with the annual Red-White Series, which the White Team won by beating the Red 5-4 in extra innings.
Kevin Hix had the game-ending hit in the clincher, a one-out single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of the seven-inning game. Jack Graham and Logan Brown led off the frame with back-to-back singles, and Dan Popio advanced them with a sacrifice bunt. Mike Accardi was walked intentionally, and Hix followed with his game-winning RBI.
Drew Dosch led the White squad with two hits and an RBI, and Kris Moules was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases for the Red Team. Russ Harless and Robert Switka were both strong on the mound in starts.
Gillispie said he was impressed throughout the fall season with the overall skill level of the team.
"There is a handful of guys who have 90-mile per hour arms, and there are six or seven guys who run under a seven-second 60-yard dash, which shows we have a fairly athletic team," Gillispie said. "There are some pieces here that will allow us to be competitive in a lot of different settings, not just within the league, but also within the region and hopefully against the national opponents we have on the schedule."
With the fall practice season winding down, Gillispie and the Penguins will turn their focus to developing skills, mechanics, strength and speed. They will also continue to be active in the community. The team participated at the Mahoning Valley Scrappers' "Trick or Treat" event on Oct. 24, and it has also spoke and read to students at area elementary schools.