FORT WAYNE – Saturdays baseball doubleheader at Homestead was clicking right along – top of the third – when Snider pitcher Nathon Principe stepped into the right-hand-batters box to face Homestead right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Plasterer.
Homestead won the first 5-3, and Snider scored six unearned runs in the ninth inning to win the second 12-6. Because both games were not conference meetings for either Snider of the SAC or Homestead of the NHC, there were a couple changes in both lineups.
For eons, thats how the Saturday doubleheaders have been done.
They give a few nonstarters a chance to play because the games dont count in league standings.
For Principe, a curly haired junior with No. 13 on the back of his jersey, Saturday was his first starting assignment.
Principe played junior varsity last season, and he had pitched six or seven innings of varsity relief this year, Snider coach Marc Skelton said, and he had been to the plate about three times.
As soon as he fell, it was evident the loud crack didnt come from Principes bat. Instead, it was him getting hit in the plastic helmet.
At first, he was on his back. He later rolled onto his side, then into a sitting position.
When Principe tried to stand, a trainer put both hands on the players shoulders to keep him down.
Slowly, he walked from the field to behind Sniders first base dugout, where he was further examined. Meanwhile, Snider scored three runs in the inning, including two from a home run by Tyler Zimske.
By the time it was Homesteads turn at the plate in the bottom of the third, Principe was back on the mound. And the first batter hed face would be the guy who hit him – Kyle Plasterer, who drilled a two-strike double into left center that ignited the Spartans three-run inning.
I was definitely scared when I fell down, but now, all thats in the past, Principe said.
I was trying to establish the inside corner, and it just got away, Plasterer said of the pitch.
When the games were complete, Plasterer said he told Principe in the handshake line that he didnt mean to plunk him.
I love em, Principe said of the doubleheaders. It gives a chance for everybody to play.
When I was a kid I just couldnt wait to play. I didnt care if it was one game, two games; I just love playing.
Plasterer almost echoed the thought.
Its Saturday, he said. Theres nothing better to do on a weekend than play baseball.