CURWENSVILLE – Two games. Two games decided by one run. Two victories.
Curwensville’s baseball squad edged Ridgway at home on a cold Thursday afternoon 9-8 to up their record to 2-0 on the young 2008 season.
Coach Ryan Briskar of the Golden Tide had a few heroes but none bigger than Ben McGary and, once again, Mark Dell’Anontio, both juniors. McGary went the distance on the mound to pick up the win. A win that looked easy at the start, but one that needed a gut check at the end. Dell’Antonio dropped a single into right field in the bottom of the sixth to drive in two runs. Those two runs would
prove to be the difference. (Dell’Antonio drove in the winning run in Wednesday’s opener with a two out single in the bottom of the seventh against DuBois Central Catholic in a 7-6 victory.)
Coach Briskar, afterwards said, “Ben (McGary) threw very well most of the afternoon and really hung in their when we needed him. Mark (Dell’Antonio) once again came through with a big hit, which turned out to be the one that drove in the winning run.”
All started well for McGary as he retired the first 11 Ridgway hitters. Then the Elkers caught fire with the long ball. Mike Miraglia hit a two out, three run homer over the center field fence in the top of the fourth to tie the score at three each after 3 ÂÂ½ innings.
Curwensville had jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after three frames with two runs in the first and one more in the second. McGary singled, which was followed by a double by right fielder Wes McGarry, a sophomore, in the first to help get the Tide rolling. Jesse Hoover, a junior second baseman, led off the second with a double and eventually scored to give the Tide those early three runs.
The Golden Tide went back out in front of the Elkers in the bottom of the fourth with catcher Cory Bloom, a junior, and sophomore left fielder Jed Greslick both scoring after each getting a single.
Briskar noted the play of Bloom, “Cory is a very solid catcher whose always mentally and physically in the game for us. He gives us a lot of stability behind the plate.” Stability that would be critical in the top of the seventh with Ridgway attempting to pull off the comeback. More on that later.
Another three run homer by Ridgway in the top of the sixth would once again knot the score. This time at 6 apiece. Joe Renaud of the Elkers went deep over the right field fence to do the damage against McGary. Next, it was the Tide’s turn to stage the next comeback.
In the bottom of the sixth for Curwensville Greslick stroked a line drive single to left to lead off and moved to second on a perfectly placed bunt by another sophomore, Sam Gardner. McGary helped his cause by driving home Greslick with a single to right field. With two out Brett McCracken, senior shortstop for Curwensville, drew a walk. This was followed by Trevor Horton, the senior designated hitter for the Tide, reaching base on an error by Elker shortstop Renaud. Now the bases were loaded with two outs and Dell’Antonio up at the plate. The Tide first baseman took a 1-2 pitch to right field for a single and driving in two runs to put the Tide up 9-6 after six. Game over, right! Nope!
In the top of the seventh Ridgway got a one out walk, a single and a Tide error to score two runs to make it 9-8 in favor of Curwensville. Another walk loaded the bases for the visitors with two outs.
Then, incredibly, with McGary getting ready to deliver a pitch to Ridgway’s Sam Skraba, Elker Jerico Weitzel breaks for home from third. Now the stability part about Tide catcher Bloom. McGary fires to home as Weitzel crashes into the Tide catcher. Bloom grabs the throw, awaits the collision and holds on to the precious baseball tagging the charging Weitzel for the games final out and the Tide victory.
An obviously happy Briskar also noted, “ I thought we played some very sound, solid defense this afternoon. We surely hit the ball well in banging out 14 hits. That was nice to see.” He also talked about the play of his shortstop in stating, “Brett (McCracken) brings it every game with solid, heads up ball. Both at the plate and in the field. He is one of those valuable senior team leaders.”
The Tide are scheduled to be back in action, at home again, Friday against Moshannon Valley, a Moshannon Valley League foe, with game time set for 4:15 pm.
NOTE: To learn more about the 2008 Curwensville baseball team log onto: www.curwensville.org.
RIDGWAY – Barry Wilson 3b 3100, Hudson Rees c 4220, Jerico Weitzel ss/p 3220, Joe Renaud 2b/ss 4223, Mike Miraglia cf 4123, Joe Chittester 1b 3000, Sam Skraba p/2b 2010, David Casolo lf 3000, Alex Bradshaw rf 2000, Derek Gaffey ph 1000.
TOTALS – 29 8 9 6
CURWENSVILLE – Ben McGary p 4221, Wes McGarry rf 4111, Brett McCracken ss 3131,Andrew Straw 3b 0000, Trevor Horton dh 4100, Dell’Antonio 1b 3012, Cory Bloom c 4110, Jesse Hoover 2b 3121, Jed Greslick lf 3220, Sam Gardner cf 2021.
TOTALS – 30 9 14 6
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
RIDGWAY 000 303 2 8 9 4
CURWENSVILLE 210 213 X 9 14 2
ERRORS – RIDGWAY -Rees, Renaud 3. CURWENSVILLE – Gardner, Hoover.
LOB – RIDGWAY – 4 CURWENSVILLE – 6 2B- McGarry, Hoover, Weitzel. HR – Renaud, Miraglia. SB-McGary. SAC-Gardner.
RIDGWAY IP H R ER BB K
Skraba 5 1/3 13 8 4 1 1
Weitzel 2/3 1 1 0 1 0
McGary 7 9 8 6 4 7
WP – McGary (1-0) LP – Skraba (0-1)