New Castle News


May 9, 2014

Spring Sports: A roundup of action from May 8

NEW CASTLE — The Laurel High baseball team closed the season on a positive note yesterday.

The Spartans rallied from an eight-run deficit after three innings for an 18-17 WPIAL Section 5-AA road win over Shenango in nine innings.

Laurel (3-11 section, 4-13 overall) capped the season with three-straight victories and four wins in its last five contests.

“I sat with the kids at the end of the game and I told them when we were 0-12, or whatever,  you could have quit,” Spartans coach Eric Verdi said. “I appreciate them hanging in with me; not missing practice, staying committed.

“Wining four of five doesn’t make up for the record, but it has them feeling good about themselves.”

Laurel trailed 10-2 going to the top of the fourth. The Spartans plated four runs in the fourth and nine more in the fifth for a 15-10 advantage heading to the last of the fifth.

The Wildcats responded with two in the fifth and three more in the sixth to tie it at 15 going to the seventh.

“Laurel battled back, but then we kept coming back, too,” Shenango coach Mike Othites said. “We battled against Laurel.”

The score remained tied at 15 until the top of the ninth. The Spartans tallied three runs for an 18-15 lead.

Shenango put two runs up in the bottom half and had runners on first and second with two outs. But Ray Scala forced a popup to seal the win.

The Spartans banged out 22 hits as a team. R.J. Stewart paced Laurel by going 5 for 7 with three RBIs.

“I just appreciate the four years R.J. Stewart gave me,” Verdi said. “He’s a hitting machine.

“He really was just always a great, pure hitter.”

Spencer Pullium, Scala and Kyle Forbes followed with three hits each for the winners. Nick Peluso and Tucker Skerbetz supplied two hits each.

Peluso drove in five runs for Laurel, while Scala, Skerbetz and Jacob Reese chipped in two each.

Scala (1-0) picked up the win in relief. He tossed seven innings, giving up 12 hits and 11 runs — five earned — with three walks and three strikeouts.

“Ray Scala competed for us,” Verdi said. “He hasn’t pitched since he was 12. He carried us the rest of the way.”

Tyler Booher delivered four hits and four RBIs for Shenango. Evan Kendall and Brian Tanner tallied three hits apiece for the hosts. Vince Turco was next with two.

Kendall, who hit a home run, knocked in a game-high six runs.

Shenango made five errors and Laurel had four.

“It wasn’t a very well-played game by us,” Othites said. “We made a lot of errors.

“I give Laurel a lot of credit, they kept hitting. We had opportunities. We could have scored more. We didn’t make the plays we could have made.”

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