It was a game both teams were trying to win — it just seemed as though neither wanted to — as Kennedy Catholic High baseball team met Mercer Friday afternoon in an inter-region District 10 affair.
The teams traded late leads before, ultimately, Scott Moore’s fielder’s choice RBI-grounder scored pinch-runner Ethan Feldmiller with the game-winner, as KC captured an 11-10 conquest.
At Hermitage, the visiting Mustangs manufactured a 7-run, 7-hit, 7th stanza, erasing a 4-3 Golden Eagles’ edge for a seemingly safe 10-4 lead.
But then the Mustangs made 3 miscues in the home half of the inning, enabling the Golden Eagles to erupt for a game-tying 6 runs.
Tied at 10, eventual winning pitcher Paul Spondike sparked the rally with a lead-off single off Mercer reliever Landon Glass. Tim Dunham entered, but issued back-to-back walks to pinch-hitter Hunter Grande (intentional) and Garrett Ammann.
The right-handed Dunham delivered a strikeout of Pat Shober for the 1st out. However with Mercer’s infield playing shallow for a potential force-out at the plate, Moore’s grounder to 2nd sacker Logan Clarke plated Feldmiller, who slid under catcher Nathan Cameron’s tag.
“We needed that. The guys didn’t quit. We came back from a six-run deficit, and I was very proud of them, they did a great job,” summarized 1st-year KC head coach Dave McIntosh.
Kennedy (6-4) captured its initial win against a Class AA opponent, McIntosh noted. Thus far, the Golden Eagles are enjoying a 4-0 edge against D-10 Region 1-A competition.
After Mercer mustered 2 first-inning runs against KC starter Jacob Fiscus, Shober shut the door for 4 frames before tiring.
In the Mustangs’ 7th, consecutive base hits by Glass, Clarke, Nate Guiler, Brayton Edwards and Dan Miller mustered 3 Mercer markers. Relieving Shober, Spondike struck out his 1st hitter, but Cody Blose banged a 2-run base hit to center field.
Jon Scheidhauer’s 2-run single moved the Mustangs’ margin to 10-4, as Mercer batted around.
But Kennedy’s comeback commenced on Jake Leipheimer’s leadoff single. Eventually the Golden Eagles etched runs on Shober’s ground out, the lefthanded-hitting Moore’s double to left, and Pat Flynn’s RBI-single. Just as Mercer had in the top half of the inning, KC batted around.
Edwards drew a 1-out walk in Mercer’s 8th and eventually advanced to 3rd on a steal and fielder’s choice grounder. But Spondike spun a 3rd strike past Ryan Thorn, giving the Golden Eagles a game-winning opportunity.
Kennedy is competing against Lakeview in the 1-A race, and McIntosh noted his club captured a 5-inning win over the Sailors earlier this season. They will meet again.
For Mercer mentor Jack Thorn, Clarke collected 2 hits and tallied twice, and starting Mercer moundsman Dan Miller mustered another pair of hits. Miller, a righty with an effective knuckle-ball not unlike R.A. Dickey, in 6-plus innings threw 111 pitches (60 strikes), whiffed 3 and walked 5. However he twice wild-pitched home runs during KC’s 2-run 2nd stanza.
Righthanded-hitting Guillermo Quinones keyed Kennedy with 3 consecutive singles — twice going to the opposite field — and hitting the ball hard in all 5-at bats. In addition to his double Moore tallied twice, Adam Hubert also had a two-bagger, and Fiscus finished with a double, sac-fly and pair of ribbies. Though not factoring in the decision, the righthanded Shober struck out 5 in 4-plus innings (61 pitches, 39 strikes), while scattering 7 hits. Also, catcher Ammann handled a trio of hard-throwing pitchers, while freshman Feldmiller tallied twice and made an athletic, running catch in left-center off the bat of the lefthanded-hitting Edwards. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Reynolds 4, Sharon 3 — At Transfer, the host Lady Raiders (6-5) and Lady Tigers battled in a thrilling non-region “Pinkout Game,” as money was raised for the battle against cancer.
Sharon held a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 6th inning. Reynolds’ Kristen Shearer ripped a 2-out, 2-run hit to give the Lady Raiders a 2-1 lead. Sharon re-took the lead, 3-2, in the top of the 7th on a 2-out triple by Mallory Torr.
In the bottom of the 7th, Madison Rhoads doubled for Reynolds, Sam Campbell doubled to tie it at 3-all, then Autumn Babcock ripped a walk-off single to win it for skipper Wilbur Juranovich.
Campbell was 3-for-4 for Reynolds with a 2-bagger, and Madison Rhoads singled and doubled. Hailey Gearhart went the distance for Reynolds. She struck out 11, walked 6 and gave up 5 hits.
Kristina Jacoway had 2 singles for Sharon and Torr singled and tripled. Gabby Gadola threw all 7 innings for Sharon. She had 6 strikeouts, issued 1 walk and allowed 8 hits.
ä Kennedy Catholic 8, Sharpsville 4 — At Hermitage, KC (3-4, 4-6) stunned the Blue Darlings in a Region 1 clash.
Emilee Taylor went the distance for KC. She struck out 1, walked 5 and gave up 9 hits.
Offensively for the Lady Golden Eagles, Taylor had 3 hits and scored twice, Gabby Nevant ripped a 2-run single and Courtney Sargent had 2 hits.
Maddie Shuttleworth went the distance for Sharpsville. She fanned 3, walked 6 and gave up 8 hits.
McKenzie Popatak belted a solo home run for the Blue Darlings and Marrie collected a pair of hits.
The Steelers host the 2013 Farrell Volleyball Classic today, which begins at 9 a.m. in E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium.
The 5 teams participating are Farrell, the Barack Obama Academy Eagles, Brunswick Blue Devils, Ft. LeBoeuf Bison and the Saint Joseph Spartans.
The tourney is a round-robin and then the playoffs are a double elimination.