The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

July 21, 2013

Unity shuts out Somerset in Legion tournament

Eric Knopsnyder

SOMERSET — To hear manager Ed Guzik tell it, the members of the Unity baseball team are just Reeping what they’ve sewn all season.

The Westmoreland County squad got an outstanding performance from starter Blake Reeping, played error-free defense and capitalized on Somerset’s miscues in a 7-0 victory on Sunday in the American Legion Region 7 Tournament.

“That’s been our whole season,” Guzik said. “Take advantage of somebody’s mistake and then build something off of it. And we got some hits today. We hit the ball again today. We hit the ball yesterday and we hit the ball again today. Like I said, if we get pitching like that we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Unity certainly was tough to beat on Sunday.

Somerset didn’t get its first base runner until the fifth, when Tyler Drane hit a bloop single to left. Reeping got the next hitter, Eric Costea, to ground into a double play.

The Businessmen only put one runner in scoring position during the game. That came in the eighth, when Austin Clawson drew a two-out walk and went to second base on Dustin Coughenour’s second single of the game. Reeping, who struck out six and walked one, got pinch-hitter Ron Davis to ground out to end the threat.

“He threw strikes and mixed speeds,” Somerset manager Bart Close said of Reeping. “Any time you can do that, you’re going to be successful.”

Brenden Bowser added a one-out single in the ninth, but Reeping got two fly outs to cap the first nine-inning outing of his career.

“I felt pretty good today,” Reeping said. “I felt confident on the mound and my stuff was on.”

Close said that his players should have adjusted their approach at the plate against Reeping.

“A guy like that, you’ve got to keep back and drive the ball to right field,” he said. “We didn’t. We tried to pull everything out of the yard and they were playing us deep. When we hit it deep, they were there.”

Unity got all of the runs it needed in the first inning, as Eli Imbrogno and Luke Ferlin each delivered RBI singles. Ray Sowinski added a run-scoring single in the third. Somerset’s third error of the game helped Unity take a 4-0 lead in the fifth.

Alex Powell doubled and scored on Josh Keefe’s double in the seventh.

Cooney pitched into the eighth before being relieved by Costea, who gave up the final run.

“With Zac Cooney on the mound, he’ll keep us in the game and we haven’t backed him up all year,” Close said. “Tonight was both defensively and offensively.”

But Close wasn’t complaining about the performance by his young team, which got an automatic entry into the regional tournament as the host, but stunned Marion Center in its opener on Saturday.

“I’m extremely pleased the way the boys have played all season, especially the last two games,” he said. “They came to compete, knowing full well that we’re going up against teams that have 17s, 18s, 19s and we’re playing with 14s, 15s, 16s and one 18-year-old.”

Somerset will play Latrobe in an elimination game at 1:30 this afternoon while Unity plays Mifflin County, the tournament’s only other unbeaten team, at 5 p.m.