The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


August 6, 2013

Cleveland wins battle for Ohio

JOHNSTOWN — Cleveland and Youngstown faced off Monday at Johnstown Middle School with Cleveland advancing while Youngstown returned home empty handed.

Cleveland opened up the scoring in the top of the fourth inning. With bases loaded, shortshop Giancarlo Saia singled, scoring Andrew Frey, who had doubled earlier in the inning, and Jack LaMarca, who had singled to left.

After a mid-inning pitching change, Cleveland was able to score two more runs after back-to-back singles from Phil Navatsky and Adam Urbania.

Youngstown’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Sheltar scored a run on a fielder’s choice, and Andrew Burdick singled home a run, cutting the deficit to two. That was the closest Youngstown got, as they gave up nine more runs before losing, 13-5.

Youngstown manager Bob Mingo said his team builds its roster each year with the AAABA Tournament in mind.

“(We) play all summer long together for the AAABA,” he said. “The hype to play games and the preparation, and then you end up with an 0-2 record. It’s tough to take.”

In the sixth inning with the score 8-3, Cleveland pulled closer. Cody Pitz doubled, scoring one run, and moved a runner to third. The next batter, left fielder Alex Cuckovich, hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring another run and cutting Cleveland’s lead to three runs.

“My kids played hard. I have no doubt in my mind that they gave their all today,” said Mingo. “It’s just the way it goes. If the gods wanted it to happen, it would have.”

Cleveland went on to score two more runs in the eighth inning, and three more in the ninth. Though they were able to score a total of 13 runs, Cleveland left the bases loaded twice.

“(Youngstown) scrapped and I knew it would be a tough game for us,” said Cleveland manager Don Navatsyk. “I never felt so exhausted after an eight-run win”.

Cleveland starting pitcher Matt Palko threw 62⁄3 innings, allowing all five Youngstown runs. Matt Elko came on in relief and pitched the rest of the game, not allowing a single run and only giving up three hits.

Youngstown starter Hank Schlueter, lasted 3 1⁄3, allowing four runs and striking out three. Youngstown used four relief pitchers after Schlueter departed. Brandon Maddern allowed four runs. Tylor Rhoads held Cleveland scoreless. Vince Pitzulo allowed two runs, and Tony Mehle allowed three runs in the top of the ninth.

Cleveland will face defending AAABA champion New Brunswick in another elimination game.

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