The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

March 30, 2014

Somerset edges out Bishop McCort in extras

JOHNSTOWN — Bishop McCort and Somerset packed an entire season’s worth of ups and downs into the second baseball game of the year for each squad Saturday morning at Point Stadium.

The Crimson Crushers (1-1) bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit only to see the Golden Eagles (2-0) plate three runs in the top of the sixth to carry a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

Bishop McCort rallied to tie and force extra innings, but Somerset was able to manufacture a pair of runs in the top of the ninth and hold on for a 7-5 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference victory.

“To have a game like this so early in the year is great,” said Somerset coach Steve Costea. “They made some mistakes, we made some mistakes, but playing a quality team like this will make us better down the road.”

The Crushers outhit the Eagles 8-6, but Somerset was able to capitalize on four Bishop McCort errors and also score three runs on wild pitches and passed balls.

“They took advantage of our mistakes,” said Crimson Crushers coach Chris Pfeil. “We battled back and had opportunities, but their pitchers made tough pitches when they had to.”

Somerset jumped out to a quick two-run lead in the top of the first. Tanner Stull drew a leadoff walk and advanced as Ross DiRienzo was safe on a fielder’s choice. Both runners executed a double steal, and Stull then came home on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. One out later, Raven Beeman singled to score DiRienzo.

Bishop McCort answered with a pair of runs in the third. Catcher Cameron Rock led off with a single, and pinch runner Zef Leach then advanced to third when an errant pickoff throw sailed into right field.

Jeremy Adams was hit by a pitch, and Nathan Nederhiser followed with a run-scoring groundout. Brad Coleman then lined a two-out double to tie the game 2-2.

The Crimson Crushers went on top with a single tally in the fifth. Adams reached on a one-out error and subsequently came home on Nederhiser’s single.

Somerset made the most of Bishop McCort’s defensive difficulties in the sixth. Alex DiRienzo led off with a double and scored the tying run when Beeman reached on an error.

Beeman stole second, and then a literal bad break for the Crimson Crushers kept the Eagles’ rally going.

Bryce Mostoller smashed a hard line drive right at first baseman Nederhiser, who had the ball in his sights. However, the shot ripped through the webbing of his glove to put two runners on with no outs instead of a probable double play.

“That was just one of those breaks that you can’t control,” said Pfeil.

Adams then relieved Ethan Nederhiser for the Crushers and got one out before walking Dave Berkebile to load the bases. Beeman and Mostoller then scored on consecutive passed balls to make it 5-3.

Bishop McCort subsequently faced a do-or-die seventh inning and stayed alive. Rock drew a one-out walk, and Nick Gjurich followed with a single.

Adams then lined a triple into the right field corner to score the tying runs and put the potential game-winner at third with only one out.

Costea ordered intentional walks to the next two Crimson Crusher batters to load the bases and then brought the infield and outfield in.

Alex Dirienzo subsequently struck out Ethan Nederhiser and retired Alex Sobecky on a grounder to keep the contest knotted at 5-5 and force extra innings.

The Eagles went ahead to stay in the top of the ninth. Seth Rose drew a leadoff walk, and Stull was then hit by a pitch. Ross Dirienzo then laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt, which led to both runners coming home on an errant throw that found its way into right field.

Alex Dirienzo closed out the game strong for the Eagles by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth.

“Nothing is ever easy here,” Costea said. “They played to win, we responded and did what we had to do.”

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