Penn Cambria and Bishop McCort traded hits and nearly matched each other’s miscues during Thursday afternoon’s LHAC game at Point Stadium.
Three- and four-run leads didn’t last long as both the Panthers and Crushers traded blows on the scoreboard.
McCort managed to have one more big inning than Penn Cambria, and the Crushers held on for a 13-8 victory.
“This is one of those games where you get the last out and get out of here,” Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. “It was a very sloppy game both ways, and fortunately for us we were able to keep putting enough pressure on offensively and get enough runs to cover up our mistakes.”
Each team committed three errors. McCort gave up four unearned runs. Penn Cambria allowed 11 unearned runs.
“Our errors were a little more costly,” Penn Cambria coach James Poldiak said. “We had the same number of hits. We put the ball in play. We didn’t have the strikeouts (at the plate). A few mishaps in the field at the wrong time made us obviously not come out with the ‘W.’
“Overall, with the way we kept battling back, especially after they scored four against us, that says a lot about our team.”
Panthers’ lead-off hitter Jake Hurley opened the game with a single to left, the first of his two hits. He scored on Jordan Simonaski’s two-out single. But, Bishop McCort answered with a four-run second inning on one hit, one error, two hit batsmen and a walk.
A pattern continued, as Penn Cambria tied the game at 4-all with a three-run third. Mark Mardula singled to right. When the ball was misplayed, three runs scored as Mardula advanced three extra bases and crossed the plate after the ball rolled deep into right field.
Cameron Rock’s two-run single highlighted McCort’s four-run third. Rock had four RBI in the game. Nemo Trexler singled, advanced on a balk and a ground out, and then scored on a passed ball to make it 9-4 in the fourth.
Still, Penn Cambria fought back with a four-run fifth that closed the gap to 9-8. Four walks, a hit batter and Cameron Janosik’s run-scoring single highlighted the frame.
“We have a lot of young kids,” Poldiak said. “Today we didn’t have any seniors starting because one was hurt. We had three freshmen out there. They competed their tails off against a very good team.”
The Crushers took the momentum back in the fifth as Alex Sobecky roped a lead-off triple to center field, igniting a four-run inning.
“I saw a good pitch, put a good swing on it, followed through and hit it,” Sobecky said. “That’s what we work on.
“This win is really big,” he added. “I think it’s the spark we need to get our season going in the right way. It’s a new month. I think we’re going to get rolling with this win.”
Rock had a run-scoring single, and Jeremy Adams knocked in two with a single in the big inning.
“Al’s triple was definitely the spark,” Pfeil said. “He’s been leading us that way all year. He doesn’t try to do anything fancy. He comes to play hard every day. He’s been invaluable and that triple definitely was the turning point.”
McCort (9-4) travels to Bedford today. Penn Cambria (6-8) plays Bishop Guilfoyle at Veterans Field in Altoona tonight.
“We’re two below the cut line,” Poldiak said of the .500 mark. “Hopefully we’ll regroup and be ready.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.