CURWENSVILLE – Before the start of Wednesday’s game, Curwensville Area High School baseball coach Denny Johns told his team it was going to be a tough one to win if they didn’t play their best. Elk County Catholic had D-1 prospect Brandon Schlimm on the mound to make things tougher. However, the Golden Tide didn’t back down and even had the Crusaders on the ropes before falling 3-1 in league play.
“This one’s on me,” said Johns after the tough loss. ”I shouldn’t have put Brett (Gardner) in the tough position at the end; it was just a tough one to let get away.”
Gardner entered the game in the top of the seventh – taking over for Kyle Johns who pitched very well to that point. With the bases loaded and no outs in a 1-1 game, Gardner fielded a ground ball, flipped it to catcher Tyler Mays, who completed the double play to Ricky Magnuson at first. Now with two outs and runners at second and third, the regretful decision for Coach Johns was to not intentionally walk Crusader right-fielder Ivan Wortman.
At that point in the game, Wortman was 3-for-3 on the afternoon. Wortman found a 1-0 pitch to his liking and slapped the pitch up the middle past a diving Tanner Elensky to chase home two runs.
“He hadn’t seen Brett on the mound yet, and we were trying to pitch carefully to him,” Coach Johns mentioned. ”If I had it to do over, I would put him on. I feel bad for the kids because we played well enough to win.”
Elk County grabbed the early lead in the second inning with the help of a lead-off free pass to John Dippold. Dan Staffer executed a sacrifice bunt to push the runner to second. After a strikeout from Johns recorded the second out, Schlimm singled to center to plate Dippold.
Schlimm, who is headed to St. Bonaventure University after graduation, held the Tide without a hit through the first three innings – only a walk and an error allowed the hosts any baserunners to that point. However, Curwensville’s pitching and defense kept the Crusaders from extending their lead.
The Golden Tide loaded the bases in both the fourth and fifth innings, but failed to score. At that point Schlimm exited the game and Curwensville took advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Ricky Magnuson drew a walk and gave way on the base pads for Gauge Baughman. Tyler Mays then singled to move Baughman to second before Noah Strickland drove in the tying run with a single to center.
ECC bumped Johns off the mound by loading the bases in the seventh and took the lead back while the Tide went down in order in the seventh to end the game at 3-1.
Kyle Johns threw six-plus strong innings before getting into trouble. He scattered seven hits while striking out seven and walking two and hitting one batter. Johns was charged with all three of the Crusader’s runs.
“I thought Kyle countered Schlimm very well tonight, and Brett came in and threw well in his inning,” said Coach Johns. ”We were flawless in the field, and Alex Olson made a diving catch in left that was as good a play as I’ve ever seen out here.
“If we can deliver that kind of effort every day we step on the field, things are going to turn around for us. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids right now.”
Schlimm finished his five innings with nine K’s, four walks and gave up three hits. Wortman finished the day 4-for-4 with two RBIs while Schlimm drove in the other run in a two-hit effort of his own.
Curwensville will try to get into the win column on Friday when they travel to West Branch for a Moshannon Valley League match-up. The game is scheduled to start at 4:30.
ELK COUNTY — 7
Jeff Wheler 3b 4110, Brad Dippold lf 3010, Ivan Wortman rf 4042, Danny Singer ss 4000, John Dippold 2100, Dan Staffer c 2000, Ryan Childs 1b/p 0000, Kyle Williams p 0000, Ben Reuscher dh 3000, Brandon Schlimm p/1b 3021, Luke Hoffman cr 0000, Vince Jacob cf 1100, TOTALS – 26 AB 3 R 8 H 3 RBI.
CURWENSVILLE — 1
Tanner Elensky ss 4010, Travis Lansberry cf 4000, Brett Gardner 2b/p 3010, Jake B. Stiles 3b 4000, Kyle Johns p/rf 2000, Alex Olson lf 3010, Ricky Magnuson 1b 1000, Gauge Baughman pr 0100,Tyler Mays c 3010, Noah Strickland rf 1011, Jake Terry 2b 0000, TOTALS – 25 AB 1 R 5 H 1 RBI.
SCORES BY INNINGS – R H E
Elk County 010 000 2 – 3 8 1
Curwensville 000 001 0 – 1 5 0
ERRORS – Childs. LOB – Elk County 7; Curwensville 9. 2B - Schlimm. SB - Wortman, Hoffman. WP – Schlimm; Johns, Gardner. DP - Curwensville. HB – Johns.
Elk County - Schlimm 5 IP 3 H 0 R 0 ER 4 BB 9 K 0 HB
Williams 1 IP 2 H 1R 1 ER 1 BB 1 K 0 HB
Childs 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K 0 HB
Curwensville - Johns 6 IP 7 H 3 R 3 ER 2 BB 7 K 1 HB
Gardner 1 IP 1 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 1 K 0 HB
WP - Williams (1-0). LP – Johns (0-2).
SCHEDULE/RESULTSDate opponent Time Result Score Record MVL DNAL 3/31 BROOKVILLE L 1-7 0-1 4/2 CLARION L 0-10 0-2 4/9 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC L 1-3 0-3 0-1 4/11 @ West Branch 4:30 4/14 @ Brockway 4:15 4/16 @ Ridgway 4:15 4/17 @ Punxsutawney 4:15 4/21 MOSHANNON VALLEY 4:15 4/23 @ Johnsonburg 4:15 4/26 JOHNSONBURG 11:00 4/28 @ Dubois Central Catholic 4:15 5/01 @ Kane 4:15 5/02 @ Glendale 4:30 5/05 Kane 4:15 5/07 @ Elk County Catholic 4:15 5/08 @ Dubois Central Catholic 4:15 5/12 Brockway 4:15 5/13 @ Harmony 4:30 5/14 Ridgway 4:15