This time, the defensive miscues went in Ridgway's favor.
So did the game.
Ridgway took advantage of three Curwensville errors in the fifth inning for four runs to propel the Elkers to a 12-10, 6-inning win over the Golden Tide Thursday afternoon at Sandy Beach Recreational Park.
"The way the breaks have been going this year, I still don't know if we're even in the break department but we'll take it," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "We've had a few times this year where we've given the other team the break and given them the chance to win the game."
Rain delayed the start of the game for two hours until 6 p.m. The two teams played until just after 8 p.m. when the game was called due to darkness.
Luke Pierce led off the fifth inning with a walk and Zac McKnight reached as a ball to second base rolled past second and into the outfield. Pierce would be out on a Ryan McClelland fielder's choice. A Jesse Reynolds walk put two runners on base as McKnight was picked off at third. With two outs, Josh Roselli then hit a high pop-up to the infield which was missed and left the bases loaded and a second chance for Ridgway's offense.
Josh Mitchell took advantage of the opportunity with a 2-out single to tie the game as he drove McClelland and Reynolds to the plate. Ben MacDonald put Ridgway ahead with his fourth hit of the game, a single which scored Roselli and put the Elkers up 11-10. MacDonald's 4-for-4 afternoon featured three RBI.
Curwensville made its third error of the inning on a force play. Josh Lineberger hit a ball to shortstop and the throw to second was offline which scored Mitchell to put Ridgway ahead 12-10.
"This game was full of twists and turns and could have gone either way," Morelli said. "When you're growing up, you dream of those situations where you get the hit to win the game and we had a couple of them tonight. A team win, though. They were focused, they played with passion, they played the type of baseball that we know they're capable of playing."
Mitchell went from scoring the final run of the game to striking out the side in the sixth inning as Mitchell sent Boone McGary, Jesse Zorger and Kyle Johns, Curwensville's 3-4-5 hitters, down on strikes.
Ridgway had an inauspicious start to the game, surrendering eight runs in the first inning. Ridgway was able to chip at the lead in the first inning as Reynolds led off the game with a single and moved to second on an error. Mitchell walked after a flyout and MacDonald singled to score Reynolds for the game's first run. With runners at the corners, MacDonald got himself in a rundown between first and second and stayed in the rundown long enough for Mitchell to score from third, cutting the margin to 8-2 after the first inning.
Ridgway made up the 6-run difference in the second inning to square things up. JoJo Jaques and Pierce walked to lead off the inning and both runners scored on a long single from McKnight. After two straight outs, Ridgway strung together four straight hits. Roselli singled home McKnight and Mitchell tripled to center which brought Roselli around to score. MacDonald doubled home Mitchell and Lineberger singled home MacDonald which tied the game at 8-all after just two innings.
Morelli said Curwensville's offense was a concern entering the game as the Golden Tide scored 33 runs in its last two games. Ridgway had only seven runs in the last five games.
"They picked a good time to pick it up because we've only scored seven runs in our last five games," Morelli said. "Curwensville coming into this game had scored 33 runs in their last two games. That was a concern of ours before the game started. We picked a good night to come out of our malaise, I guess you could say, and we started to hit the ball when we needed to hit the ball and we played solid defense. The big thing is we got to stay consistent. Those are the ingredients that win ballgames, good pitching, timely hitting, good defense."
Curwensville added a run in the third inning. Jordan Russell singled and then stole second base. Russell went to advance to third on a passed ball and a throwing error would bring Russell around to score for a 9-8 Curwensville lead.
Curwensville added to the lead in the fifth inning as Tanner Elansky hit a sacrifice fly to score courtesy runner Brad Coudriet.
The Golden Tide held onto the lead in the fourth inning with some timely defense. Ridgway loaded the bases as Roselli singled, Mitchell reached on a Curwensville error and MacDonald reached on an infield hit as a line drive deflected off of Curwensville pitcher Brett Gardner. But the Golden Tide were able to get a fielder's choice to home and a 4-3 double play to end the inning and leave the margin at two runs.
Curwensville opened the game with an 8-run first inning. Elensky led off with a walk and then stole second base. Kyle Bloom brought him home with a single for the game's first run. McGary would single. After a flyout, Kyle Johns walked and Jake Stiles then singled which scored courtesy runner Alex Olson and McGary. Russell singled home Johns and Stiles for another two runs for Curwensville. Holland and Elensky walked while Bloom would reach on a 2-base error by Ridgway which scored three more runs for an 8-0 Golden Tide lead.
MacDonald pitched 3 1-3 innings in relief of Jaques and gave up one run on one hit with three walks and three strikeouts. Mitchell came on and struck out five in two innings of work.
"You got to give the kids a tremendous amount of credit for their resolve down 8-0," Morelli said. "You got to give a lot of credit to Ben MacDonald for coming into relief and keeping Curwensville at bay and you got to give a lot of credit to the kids, they deserve the credit for coming up with the clutch hits when we needed it in the crucial situations."
Roselli and Mitchell each had two hits while Mitchell joined MacDonald with three RBI. McKnight was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base. Reynolds and Lineberger also had a hit as Ridgway finished with 12 hits as a team.
Elensky and Russell led Curwensville with two runs apiece. McGary was 2-for-4 to lead the Golden Tide in hits.
Ridgway (5-6) faces Johnsonburg in the first round of the Elk County Baseball Tournament at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon at Berwind Park.
"We got to keep this momentum going and hopefully translate it into a good performance at the County Tournament," Morelli said.