A pair of 2-run innings in the middle of the game proved to be enough for Smethport baseball in a 5-0 victory over Ridgway Thursday afternoon at Sandy Beach Recreational Park.
The Hubbers scored two runs in the fourth and fifth innings after already establishing a 1-0 lead in the opening frame. Zach Smith opened the inning by legging out an infield single on a ball hit between the shortstop and third baseman. After a strikeout, Ryan Stratton would hit a ball down the first base line that appeared to hit off of first base and bounce high into the air. Stratton advanced to second and Smtih went to third on the play. A single by Ryan Corbett would plate both runners as the Hubbers took a 3-0 lead.
Smethport conjured up a 2-out rally in the fifth to extend the lead further. After a groundout and a strikeout, Kevin Lord walked. Smith then launched a double to right center field which scored Lord for the Hubbers' fourth run. A single brought home Smith to give Smethport a 5-0 lead.
Ridgway had its chances in the opening two innings, leaving a pair of runners on base in each inning. Jesse Reynolds opened the game for Ridgway with a walk. After two straight strikeouts, Ben MacDonald also walked. But Ridgway hit into a 6-4 fielder's choice to end the inning.
Ryan McClelland walked with one out in the home half of the second. After a flyout, Evan Nourse singled into center field to put two runners on. But Smethport starting pitcher Corbett would get a flyball to center field to end the threat once again.
Facing a 5-run deficit in the home half of the seventh inning, Ridgway began to mount a potential charge. Josh Roselli singled to open up the inning. After a strikeout, Sam Roselli was hit by a pitch and Jesse Reynolds walked to load the bases with one out. Smethport made a pitching change and brought in Smith to get the final two outs for the Hubbers. Smith was successful as he got a popout to shortstop and a strikeout to end the game. All told, Ridgway left nine runners on base.
"We left two runners on in the first and two runners on in the second," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "Then we left the bases loaded in the seventh. It's that old phrase of baseball. The inconsistencies are coming back to haunt us again. It's up-and-down type of a thing and it's something we'll have to deal with, something we have to adjust to. It gets frustrating but we just got to keep our heads up. The season's not halfway over yet and there are positive things this team's done so far. We just got to get that consistency and come to the ballpark ready to play each and every day."
Smethport opened the scoring in the first inning. Clay Shuler singled and Lord followed with a single of his own, moving Shuler to third. The throw went directly to third and Lord moved to second on the play. Smith then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Shuler for a 1-0 Hubber lead.
Ridgway drew six walks against Smethport pitching. Reynolds and MacDonald were each walked twice. Luke Pierce and McClelland had the other walks. Roselli, Nourse and MacDonald each had hits, MacDonald's hit was a double.
Josh Mitchell struck out eight and walked just two in six innings of work. Sam Roselli pitched a perfect seventh inning for the Elkers.
Corbett pitched 6 1-3 innings for the Hubbers and struck out 10 while walking six. He struck out the side in the fourth inning.
Ridgway comes off a tough stretch, playing three straight teams with winning records. The Elkers played undefeated Johnsonburg last Thursday, losing 5-0. After a 4-3 win over DuBois Central Catholic (5-3) on Tuesday, the Elkers faced a Smethport team which came in with a 6-1 record.
Morelli said in Tuesday's game the Elkers were able to make more plays and came out with a win.
"Those are three good teams we played in a row," Morelli said. "That gives you a chance to see where you stand. We're not that far away but at the same time we have to make our breaks, get the big hits when we need them and make the big defensive plays when we need them."
Ridgway (3-5) is scheduled to play at Kane Monday for a 4:15 p.m. start. With a young team, Morelli said the team is coming along.
"Learn from your mistakes," Morelli said. "Baseball has a lot of fine points to it. It's not easy to learn them all especially when you're a young team like we are. It's coming. We can't get down, we got to keep our focus and take it one game at a time."