The Elk County Catholic Crusader baseball squad took an early lead and used good defense to pick up a 4-2 victory over cross-town rival St. Marys Area on Friday afternoon at Berwind Park.
"[It was a] tough one to take," said St. Marys Area coach Tony Azzato. "[We gave up] three unearned runs."
Brandon Schlimm started on the mound for the Crusaders, working six innings and giving up three hits, walking three, and striking out eight. Ben Cortina worked the final inning in relief, walking one.
"I thought Brandon threw a really good game. Ben Cortina came in and pitched well in that last inning of the game," said ECC coach Tom Zampogna.
Branden Tyger went the distance for the Dutchmen, giving up five hits, walking two, and striking out 10.
"Branden threw a great game," Azzato said.
Zampogna also praised St. Marys' pitching.
"The pitcher for St. Marys pitched a good game tonight. He had his curveball working and the kids were struggling trying to hit it," Zampogna said.
Elk Catholic was led offensively by Pat Brennen with a solo home run in the opening inning. Ivan Wortman had a double and a single, Vincent Jacob hit a double, and Dan Singer singled.
"We struggled at the plate a little bit," Zampogna said. "Our #5 and #6 hitters had six strikeouts."
"Pat (Brennen) had a nice home run," Zampogna added. "We did have a couple nice hits. They were all at the top of the order. Our middle of the order struggled."
The Dutchmen were led on offense by Brandon Vollmer, who recorded a pair of singles and also scored both of St. Marys' runs. Rudy Gleixner also hit a double in the contest.
The Dutchmen went down in order in the top of the first inning. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Pat Brennen hit a solo homer to left field, giving the Crusaders an early 1-0 lead. Ivan Wortman also doubled in the inning, but was left stranded.
Brandon Vollmer started off the second inning with a single for St. Marys. With one out, Mitch Meyer hit a ground ball in the infield and was thrown out at first. The Crusaders attempted to go for a double play as Vollmer was headed for third. There was an error on the throw though, allowing Vollmer to score and knot things up at 1-all. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Brock McCullough walked for ECC and stole second, but was left on base as the next two batters went down in order.
Quinn Cunningham reached base on an error for the Dutchmen in the top of the third, but was unable to advance. The Crusaders recorded their final three runs in the bottom of the inning. Vincent Jacob started things off with a double to center field and scored on an error that saw Brennen make it to second. A single by Singer advanced Brennen to third, and he scored on a single by Wortman. After the next two batters struck out, McCullough reached base on an error that scored Singer and advanced Wortman to third. The next batter struck out, ending the inning with ECC ahead 4-1.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Vollmer singled again and Justin Beimel also reached base on an error. Both were unable to advance, though, as the next two batters both flied out. The Crusaders went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
David Aul and Cunningham both walked in the top of the fifth to give St. Marys another pair of base runners. However, the next three batters all struck out, ending the Dutch threat. Singer walked to start off the bottom of the inning for ECC, but the next three batters went down in order and prevented ECC from extending their lead.
St. Marys scored their final run in the top of the sixth. Vollmer walked, stole second, and advanced to third on a play that saw Beimel thrown out at first after grounding to the second baseman. Vollmer scored on a single by Rudy Gleixner, cutting ECC's lead to 4-2. ECC's batters went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Dalton Kline walked but was left on base as Tyger flied out to left field, ending the game and giving ECC the 4-2 victory.
St. Marys Area is now 2-8 on the season and is back in action today as the Dutchmen travel to Williamsport for a 12 p.m. contest. The Crusaders are now 8-3 on the season and will return to action Tuesday as they travel to Johnsonburg to take on the Rams in a 4:15 p.m. game.
St. Marys 2
Robert Watts 4-0-0, Dalton Kline 3-0-0, Branden Tyger 4-0-0, Brandon Vollmer 2-2-2, Justin Beimel 3-0-0, Mitch Meyer 3-0-0, Rudy Gleixner 3-0-1, David Aul 2-0-0, Quinn Cunningham 2-0-0, Luke Schreiber 0-0-0, Jerri Newell 0-0-0. Totals 26-2-3.
Elk Catholic 4
Vincent Jacob 3-1-1, Pat Brennen 3-2-1, Dan Singer 2-1-1, Ivan Wortman 3-0-2, Joe McLaughlin 3-0-0, Jack Herzing 3-0-0, Brock McCullough 2-0-0, Ben Cortina 3-0-0, Brandon Schlimm 0-0-0, Wes Brennen 3-0-0. Totals 25-4-5.
Score by innings R
SMAHS 010 001 0 2
ECCHS 103 000 x 4