ST. MARYS – The St. Marys Legion edged Wilcox 4-3 on Sunday evening at Berwind Park in the first game of a best-of-three championship series for the Elk County American Legion Baseball League title.
Ben Daghir started on the mound for St. Marys, working four innings and giving up four hits, walking one and striking out five. Pat Brennen worked 1 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, walking two and striking out two. Jordan Weinzierl worked the final third of an inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.
Cole Peterson worked the first five innings for Wilcox, giving up six hits and striking out three. Josh Mitchell worked the final inning, giving up one hit and striking out two.
St. Marys' seven hits came on a solo home run and a single by Ryan Uhl, a pair of singles by Weinzierl, and singles by Luke Daghir, Eric Wehler and Nate Geist.
Wilcox had nine hits, led by a pair of singles by Peterson, and singles by Cameron Grumley, Mitchell Holmberg, Joe Holmberg, Zac Luhr, Quinn Luhr, Ben MacDonald and Frank Kocjancic.
With two outs in the top of the first inning, Mitchell Holmberg singled but was left stranded as Joe Holmberg grounded to the pitcher and was thrown out at first. St. Marys went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs in the top of the second inning, Wilcox again got some base runners as Quinn Luhr reached on an error and advanced on a single by MacDonald. Both were left on base, though, as Kocjancic grounded to the second baseman and was unable to beat the throw to first. St. Marys got on the board for the first time in the bottom half of the inning. Uhl started things off with a single, advancing on a passed ball and another single by Weinzierl. Luke Daghir flied out to left field, scoring Uhl; however, the next two batters went down in order, leaving Weinzierl stranded with St. Marys up 1-0.
With one out in the top of the third inning, Cameron Grumley singled to once again give Wilcox a base runner. With two outs, he was able to advance to second on a single by Joe Holberg; however, both were once again left on base as Mitchell grounded to the pitcher and was out at first. Nate Geist singled to reach base for St. Marys in the bottom half of the inning, but was unable to advance as the next three batters went down in order.
Zac Luhr started off the fourth inning for Wilcox by reaching base on an error, but again was left stranded as the next three batters went down in order. St. Marys added to their lead in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Weinzierl singled and advanced to third on a single by Luke Daghir. A single by Wehler scored both Weinzierl and Daghir, but the next two batters went down in order to leave Wehler on base with the score at 3-0.
Wilcox finally got on the board in the top of the fifth inning. Peterson started things off by reaching base on an error and Grumley walked. With one out, Joe Holmberg reached base on an error that also scored Peterson. Mitchell was intentionally walked to load the bases and a single by Zac Luhr scored Grumley to cut St. Marys' lead to 3-2. With the bases still loaded, the next two batters went down in order to stall Wilcox's momentum. St. Marys' batters went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
With one man down in the top of the sixth, Wilcox tried to take over the lead as Peterson singled and Grumley was hit by a pitch to put both runners on base; however, the next two batters went down in order to end the threat. In the bottom half of the inning, St. Marys scored its final run as Uhl led off with a solo homer to put St. Marys up 4-2. Weinzierl also reached base on an error, but was stranded at second as the next three batters went down in order.
Wilcox tried to take the lead away from St. Marys in the top of the seventh, but again came up short. Mitchell started things off by walking. With one out, Quinn Luhr singled to advance Mitchell. With two outs, Kocjancic singled, scoring Mitchell to make the score 4-3. A single by Peterson loaded the bases; however, a strikeout ended the threat and seal the victory for St. Marys.
The two teams will face off again tonight in a 5:30 p.m. game in Wilcox.