CURWENSVILLE — After all the early season delays, the rain outs, and even a snow-out, Wednesday afternoon marked the conclusion to the season on the diamond for Curwensville. The Golden Tide, after a pair of long road trips to start the week, were ready to finish the season with positive vibes, and a strong performance.
The dugout on the opposing baseline saw their opposition, the Cardinals of DuBois Central Catholic, ready to play spoiler.
A warm afternoon welcomed everyone to the Curwensville High School, but things did not get started right away. The Cardinals team was delayed getting to the field for warm ups as the school had a field trip scheduled during the day. Curwensville coaches and officials found this out and decided to push the start of the game back 15 minutes, meaning the first pitch wasn’t until 4:30 p.m.
When the game did get going, it was apparent the Tide had found their swing. Inning after inning, each batter had great chances to hit the ball, and managed to get into double digits on the official score log.
The problem was, the hits were not bringing in runs. Despite a late run, the Tide rally fell short in the final inning, dropping the season finale contest to the Cardinals, 4-3.
“It’s a tough one. We just didn’t get any clutch hits,” head coach Tom Harzinski said afterwards. “We never gave up.”
Curwensville was able to collect 11 hits on the afternoon, compared to DuBois Central Catholic with just seven. However, the Tide stranded eight runners, compared to the Cardinals’ five.
It was the Cardinals on the board first to start the game. Lead-off batter Justin Miknis reached first base on an error by Bryce Timko, who was playing first instead of left field as he experienced muscle soreness in the previous day’s game against Brookville. Timko played the position last season, and with a sore throwing arm, coaches felt putting him in the infield where there’s less stress on throwing long distances was a better choice.
Miknis advanced to second on a called strikeout to Jack Frank, then also stole third. Brandon Walker then made it scoreless no more on an RBI-single to shallow left field that brought Miknis to the plate.
The 1-0 score didn’t last long as in the bottom half of the inning, Curwensville got the bats going in succession. After Noah VonGunden popped out, Ralph Evans, Avery Francisco and Timko all hit singles to the outfield to load up the bases. Zach McClure then tied it up with an RBI-single to left-center. That left runners on first and second. But, Christian Bakaysa could not break the tie when he grounded into the 4-6-3 double play to end the first inning.
The score remained 1-1 until the top of the third inning, where the Cardinals got things back in their control.
Austin Cogley hit a single to left, followed by Miknis having his first big hit of the game. The 1-1 pitch connected, and went to deep right field. Not only did Cogley make it home, but Miknis rounded the bases to third, putting yet another scorer in position.
Two batters later, after Frank walked, Walker got an RBI-single that brought Miknis home, making the score 3-1. Frank also managed to get home to score the fourth, and ultimately final, run of the game for the road squad, and starting pitcher Josh Terry was relieved of his duties.
His two innings of work, with four runs, three earned, and just one strikeout ultimately was enough for the loss.
Harzinski made multiple moves following the pitching change. Terry went to the dugout, Francisco moved from center to second base, Bakaysa went to center field, and Devin Barrett went to right field. Barrett was listed as a substitute on the lineup card, but he played more than expected as VonGunden appeared to suffer a wrist injury in the inning. McClure then went to the catcher position, and Butlin had the final move as he swapped gloves and moved to the mound.
The move paid dividends right away, as his first two batters both flew out. He managed to get the Tide out of the jam when Tyler McIntosh popped out to Timko, who nearly hit Butlin during the play.
“Butlin going in as pitcher there, really helped us. Showed great leadership,” Harzinski said. “We have a couple kids playing out of position because of some injuries. No fault of them. Overall this is a great group of kids; we’re young, and we’re going to build off this.
“We have two seniors that have been with us, Zach McClure and Austin Butlin, and their leadership is outstanding. They are truly going to be missed.”
Entering the bottom of the third, Curwensville had five hits to their credit. But, over the next four innings, despite adding six more hits, no runs came across the plate. It wasn’t until the seventh inning when Curwensville found something to get the crowd into it.
Frank started the game for the Cardinals and pitched the first three innings. Anthony Kness then pitched the following three innings, keeping the Tide at bay. Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Misiewicz took the mound hoping to give his team the victory, Kness the win on his season stats, and the save for the afternoon.
It wasn’t going to be that easy.
VonGunden returned to the lineup for the seventh inning, and the second pitch to him caught his arm, meaning an easy trip to first base. He then advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. Francisco then took first on an intentional walk.
Timko then took to the plate, and did not waste any time making a game of it.
Misiewicz’ first pitch saw Timko connect, blasting the ball to deep center field. VonGunden and Francisco made it home, with Timko passing second. Harzinski saw his star junior keep momentum, and despite possibly better judgement, decided to have him try for the triple. But, the long throw from center to second, then to third, arrived just in time to the glove of Thomas Grecco, tagging Timko out at third, but not before closing the gap to just one run.
“I wanted to stop him at second, but that’s on us as coaches. Can’t fault his hustle,” Harzinski said.
With two outs on the board, it was up to McClure to get the tying run on base. The count was loaded, and he looked ready to blast one more ball beyond the bases. But, Misiewicz found the zone when it mattered, and struck out McClure to close the game, earning the save, and ending the 2017 Tide season.
Harzinski found it hard to describe the sadness of seeing the season end, while seeing his two seniors, McClure and Butlin, in tears knowing it was the last time they would don the gold, black, and white colors. But, despite knowing he’s losing a pair of strong players, he knows that his team is young, talented, and is only going to improve heading into next year.
“We got everyone but two coming back next year. Bryce Timko, he’s just throwing lights out, and he’s just going to improve next year,” Harzinski said. “We have some young kids that stepped up. Ralph Evans, for instance, had two hits today. We’re looking for big things out of him. Tristen (Bressler), we called him up. He’s been playing jayvee all year. It was nice to see him get a hit today.
“We have some things to work on, but we’re going to be around next year.”
Curwensville ends the 2017 season with a final record of 6-14.
SCORE BY INNING
D. C. Catholic 103 000 0 – 4 7 1
Curwensville 100 000 2 – 3 11 1
DuBois Central Catholic – 4
Justin Miknis C 4121, Zach Edwards 0100, Jack Frank P/2B 2100, Brandon Walker LF 4022, Garrett Prosper 1B 3000, Michael Misiewicz 2B 2000, Thomas Grecco 3B 2011, Tyler McIntosh RF 3000, Dom Torretti DH 3000, Austin Cogley CF 3120. TOTALS 26 4 7 4.
Curwensville – 3
Noah VonGunden SS 1100, Zach Brewer PH 1010, Devin Barrett RF 2000, Ralph Evans DH 4120, Avery Francisco CF/2B 3130, Bryce Timko 1B 4022, Zach McClure 2B/C 4021, Christian Bakaysa LF/CF 3000, Austin Butlin C/P 2000, Tristen Bressler PH 1010, Matt Carter RF 2000, Josh Terry P 3000. TOTALS 30 3 11 3.
E: Bloom/Timko. LOB: 5/8. ROE: Miknis/Terry. 2B: Cogley/Francisco, McClure, Timko. 3B: Miknis (2). DP: Misiewicz, Bloom, Prosper/VonGunden. GIDP: Torretti/Bakaysa. HBP: VonGunden. SB: Frank. CS: Cogley, Walker/Terry.
D. C. Catholic: Frank: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB; Kness-3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 0 BB; Misiewicz-1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB.
Curwensville: Terry-2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 K, 3 BB; Butlin-5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.
W-Kness. L-Terry. S-Misiewicz.
Final Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|3/24||PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA||2 – 8||0 – 1|
|3/27||@ Brockway||ppd.||0 – 1|
|3/30||@ Punxsutawney||ppd.||0 – 1|
|4/03||ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC||2 – 6||0 – 2|
|4/05||JOHNSONBURG||5 – 8||0 – 3|
|4/07||WEST BRANCH||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/10||@ Brockway||8 – 7||1 – 3|
|4/11||@ Clearfield||2 – 10||1 – 4|
|4/13||@ Johnsonburg||3 – 8||1 – 5|
|4/17||WEST BRANCH||7 – 2||2 – 5|
|4/18||@ Mo Valley||0 – 2||2 – 6|
|4/21||@ DuBois Central Catholic||0 – 10||2 – 7|
|4/24||KANE||16 – 6||3 – 7|
|4/25||BROCKWAY||11 – 13||3 – 8|
|4/27||HARMONY||6 – 0||4 – 8|
|5/01||@ Punxsutawney||ppd.||4 – 8|
|5/02||@ Elk County Catholic||ppd.||4 – 8|
|5/04||@ Brookville||ppd.||4 – 8|
|5/05||GLENDALE||ppd.||4 – 8|
|5/08||@ Elk County Catholic||3 – 6||4 – 9|
|5/09||CLEARFIELD||0 – 13||4 – 10|
|5/11||@ Kane||4 – 1||5 – 10|
|5/13||GLENDALE||7 – 2||6 – 10|
|5/15||@ Punxsutawney||0 – 10||6 – 11|
|5/15||@ Pinxsutawney||3 – 7||6 – 12|
|5/16||@ Brookville||3 – 14||6 – 13|
|5/17||DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH||3 – 4||6 – 14|