NEW CASTLE —
Ellwood City 1
The Wildcats recovered from an early 1-0 deficit to secure the Section 5-AA home victory over the Wolverines.
Shenango (2-0, 2-2) turned a 1-1 tie into a 6-1 lead with five runs in the fifth before adding three more in the sixth. Ellwood City (0-2, 3-4) scored its lone run in the third.
“You base yourself against who you play and Ellwood City is consistently good,” Shenango coach Mike Othites said. “They’re considered one of the top teams around.”
The Wildcats managed 11 hits off Wolverines pitching with Sam Sibeto contributing three singles. Evan Kendall and Tyler Booher each had a pair hits for Shenango.
“Sometimes hitting becomes contagious,” Othites said. “We had a couple big hits and everyone followed suit. We faced some tough pitchers last week. That kid from Blackhawk (Brendan McKay) will probably pitch in the major leagues some day and Beaver Falls did a good job of mixing things up on us.”
Kendall picked up the win by scattering four hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking three.
“I was real impressed with Evan,” Othites said. “The only run they got was off his error. Other than that, he was real efficient. He mixed his pitches well and was able to spot his pitches. We played some good defense behind him.”
Ellwood City’s Austin Richard was saddled with the loss, chased after 3 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out two.
The host Spartans struggled defensively over the final two innings and it cost them in the Section 5-AA setback.
Laurel (0-2, 0-4) committed five errors over the sixth and seventh innings, allowing Beaver to plate four runs off Chris Peluso.
“We had five errors and they were in the last two innings,” Spartans coach Eric Verdi said. “You can’t have five errors and expect to win very many games. We had three errors and a passed ball on one play. It was poor execution on our end.”
Laurel took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Clayton Sharek struck out, but reached on the dropped third strike. He advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on R.J. Stewart’s one-out single.
Aside from that, the Spartans struggled against Beaver pitcher Conlan Grossman.
“He got ahead early in counts,” Verdi said. “He had a knuckleball and was fluttering it up there. We were overly aggressive and hit the stuff back at him. He kept us off balance with his secondary pitches.”
Peluso limited Beaver to just five hits and allowed just one earned run, while striking out six and walking one.
“We ruined a pretty good pitching performance,” Verdi said. “Chris pitched real well. He had a good mix. He was getting ahead with his three pitches. That’s what you ask out of your pitchers. He was getting a lot of first-pitch fly balls. They didn’t hit much hard off him.”