ST. MARYS – The St. Marys Legion was shut out 7-0 by Wilcox on Wednesday evening in the final game of the Elk County American Legion championship series. The teams had split the previous two games of the series, bringing about the need for the third game in the best-of-three series.
Jordan Weinzierl started on the mound for St. Marys and worked 4 1-3 innings, giving up three hits and striking out two. Ben Daghir worked 2 2-3 innings in relief, giving up four hits and striking out four.
Cole Peterson started on the mound for Wilcox and worked 3 2-3 innings, giving up one hit, one walk, and striking out one. Josh Mitchell worked 3 1-3 in relief, giving up two hits, walking two, and striking out two.
"An outstanding win with the pressure on," Wilcox coach Jeff Peterson said. "St. Marys has a well-coached team. I was real skeptical about [last night], I didn't know how it would go. I was starting Cole, they've seen Cole a lot and he did a great job again of keeping it down. I was hoping to go two to three with him, I think I got him into the fourth. Then I got to Josh Mitchell, which I wanted to do and Josh threw real well the other night. Defensively, we've been playing strong, that's our strong point, we made a lot of good plays hitting. We're a scrapping team, we don't quit."
Weinzierl accounted for all of St. Marys' hits, going 3-for-3 with three singles. Wilcox's seven hits were led by a home run and a single by Joe Holmberg. Cameron Grumley had a double and a single, while Frank Kocjancic had a double. Mitchell Holmberg and Mitchell both had singles.
The game started off as a offensive struggle as neither team scored through the first three innings, though both were able to put runners on base.
Wilcox finally got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Grumley singled but was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice by Mitchell Holmberg, who advanced on a single by Joe Holmberg and score on a sacrifice fly by Mitchell to give Wilcox the 1-0 lead. Ben MacDonald next reached base on an error but Joe Holmberg tried to pick up another run on the play and was thrown out at home to end the top of the inning. With two outs in the bottom of the inning Ryan Uhl walked and advanced on a single by Weinzierl, but both were left stranded as Luke Daghir flied out to left field.
Wilcox picked up two more runs in the top of the fifth. Zac Luhr started things off when he reached base on an error. With one out, Kocjancic hit a double, which also advanced Luhr to third. With two outs, a double by Grumley scored both Luhr and Kocjancic to extend Wilcox's lead to 3-0. Grumley was left on base as Mitchell Holmberg flied out to center field. St. Marys' batters went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
Neither team was able to score in the sixth inning.
Wilcox finished strong, picking up four more runs in the top of the seventh. Quinn Luhr reached base after being hit by a pitch and with one out, Peterson reached on an error. With two outs, Mitchell Holmberg singled to score Luhr. Joe Holmberg then hit a 3-run home run to clear the bases and give Wilcox the 7-0 advantage.
"Joe Holmberg, I think that's his first home run of the year, what better time for it," coach Peterson said. "That's the icing on the cake because it could have got ugly there at the end. Overall, a great win for the team. We've been in this situation before and it's nice to go back. We're a very young team and very scrappy. We're never out of the game with our pitching and our speed. Take your hat off to St. Marys, they're a phenomenal team. I wasn't sure if we would get by them or not. It was a great series, good games for the fans to watch. It was just nice to come out on top."
Mitchell struck out to end the inning. St. Marys tried to rally in the bottom half of the inning. Weinzierl singled but was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice that saw Luke Daghir reach base. Anthony Grimone walked to give St. Marys another base runner and advance Daghir to second. With two outs, Josh Feldbauer walked to load the bases, but Ricky Pearsall grounded to the shortstop and was out at first to end the inning and give Wilcox the victory.
The loss ended St. Marys' season. Wilcox will now advance to the Region 8 Tournament, which will begin this weekend in Saegertown.
Wilcox – 7
Cole Peterson 4-1-0, Cameron Grumley 4-0-2, Mitchell Holmberg 4-2-1, Josh Holmberg 4-1-2, Josh Mitchell 4-0-1, Ben MacDonald 3-0-0, Louie Imbrogno 0-0-0, Zac Luhr 3-1-0, Quinn Luhr 2-1-0, Frank Kocjancic 2-1-1. Totals 30-7-7.
St. Marys – 0
Ricky Pearsall 3-0-0, Ben Daghir 3-0-0, Kevin Hoy 3-0-0, Ryan Uhl 2-0-0, Jordan Weinzierl 3-0-3, Luke Daghir 3-0-0, Eric Wehler 2-0-0, Nate Geist 3-0-0, Luke Nicklas 3-0-0, Anthony Grimone 0-0-0, Josh Feldbauer 0-0-0. Totals 24-0-3.
Score by innings R
Wilcox 000 120 4 - 7
St. Marys 000 000 0 - 0