The Fatima Comets set the tone early.
Fatima scored nine runs in the first inning in Game 1 of Tuesday night's doubleheader against Capital City, then plated seven in the opening frame of Game 2 in posting wins of 13-0 and 10-2 at Capital City High School.
"It makes it easy," Fatima coach Brian Bax said. "As a pitcher, when you get a big lead you can work the middle of the plate instead of trying to work the corners as much and let your natural movement take the ball where it wants to go."
For the Cavaliers, it was another night to gain some needed experience.
"We're learning every day, everything that we do — practice, open field, games," Capital City assistant coach Adam Grunden said. "We're young, we know that and that means we have to use every day as a stepping stone.
"We just need to learn from our mistakes, that's all we can do."
Fatima sent 15 batters to the plate in its nine-run inning to start the opener. The Comets had five hits, all singles, while drawing five walks.
"We showed some patience when they weren't finding the strike zone," Bax said. "And when they threw it over the plate, we hit it pretty good."
Dalton Gentges had a pair of two-run singles in the inning.
After the Cavaliers set the Comets down in order in the second, Fatima scored twice in the third and added two more in the fourth.
That was more than enough support for starting pitcher Austin Troesser. The Missouri signee went the distance in the four-inning contest, allowing two hits and now walks while striking out six. The lanky right-hander went to a three-ball count on just one batter in the game.
Blake Gentges scored four runs for the Comets out of the leadoff spot.
The first inning of the second game was much like the opener. The Comets scored seven times on just three hits, while drawing five walks. Max Buscher had a two-run single in the inning, while Blake Gentges scored twice, had a single and a double, and drove in a run.
Capital City got on the board in the third, stringing together four straight singles to plate a pair of runs. Grayson Jones and Jaden Chapman had RBI for the Cavaliers.
"Our at-bats got better as the night went on," Grunden said.
Fatima, the visitor in the nightcap, got those two runs back in the bottom of the inning on a single by Dalton Gentges. The Comets capped the scoring with a run in the fourth as Brandon Dulle scored after leading off the inning with a walk.
Fatima was aggressive on the basepaths all night.
"In practice, we've been working on rounding the bases as much as possible without getting caught," Bax said. "It helps you be able to take the extra base if there's a bobble or something and that happened a couple of times tonight. You want to push the pitcher and the defense to the max now to figure out how much you can do it when the games start to count in the spring."
"As a coach, when you see things you've been working on for a year or two start to work in a game, it makes you feel pretty good that things aren't going in one ear and out the other."
Dalton Gentges had three RBI for the Comets in the second game, while Buscher had two RBI. Blake Gentges had three hits.
Evan Kliethermes was the starter and winner for the Comets. He pitched the first five innings, allowing four hits and no walks while recording four strikeouts.
"He's going to be a big piece for us the next two years," Bax said.
Dulle pitched the sixth for Fatima, striking out one.
"There's no reason for negativity, we're still learning," Grunden said. "We're not expecting perfection, but we do expect to compete every time we're on the field and we did that."
Fatima will face Helias 2 on Thursday at Babe Ruth Park. Capital City will play at New Bloomfield.