The Keystone pitching staff issued a total of five walks in the fifth and sixth innings allowing Curwensville to put up two runs in each of those innings to come home with the win and move into the quarter-finals on Thursday at home against upstart Smethport.
Smethport, the thirteenth seed, upset the fourth seeded DuBois Central Catholic Cardinals 7-0 in other first round action on Tuesday.
Tide hurler senior Sam Gardner went the distance picking up his fifth win of the year scattering five hits and striking out ten Panthers.
Derek Brothers, another senior for Curwensville, making the most of his start at third base, scored three runs in the number nine spot in the Tide‘s lineup with two singles and a walk.
Keystone would strike first in the contest scoring one run in the second inning on a double by Panther pitcher Brett Zuck followed by an RBI single by Colt O’Neil.
In the bottom of the third inning Curwensville knotted the score at 1-1 when Brothers singled and then came across the plate later in the frame on a single by Gardner.
The game would stay tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Tide tallied twice thanks to three hits and two base on balls.
Brothers drew a walk to start the Tide fifth and reached third when Jed Greslick blasted a ground rule double to left centerfield. With runners on second and third Wes McGarry grounded out to second, picking up an RBI as Brothers raced home with the second run of the game for Curwensville.
Brett Sutika would single later in the inning in what proved to be the winning run for the Golden Tide as he drove home Greslick with the base hit to right field.
Keystone would cut the Tide lead to 3-2 in the top of the sixth as Zuck singled and stole second. O’Neil would get his second RBI of the day with a single driving home Zuck.
Winning teams usually have an answer when the opponent starts to creep up on them and the Tide answered right back with two more runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning with two singles and three more walks.
Curwensville pinch hitter Jesse Zorger drew a walk to start the sixth for Curwensville and was then pinch run for by sophomore Alex Holland.
Brothers singled putting runners on first and second with McGarry picking up an RBI single that sent Holland home. A walk to Gardner loaded the bases for Sutika who picked up another RBI, this time the easy way. With what else ? A walk, which gave the Tide a three run margin, ensuring the victory.
Afterwards Tide first year head coach Denny Johns praised both teams, “Give Keystone a lot of credit as Zuck threw as well as anyone we have faced all year. They made us really earn this win with their gutsy play.”
The Johns added, “Sam (Gardner) pitched well for us against a very aggressive Keystone squad at the plate. But Sammy has done the job every time I asked him to. And Derek Brothers delivered at the bottom of the order by scoring three of our five runs.”
The Tide defense drew admiration from Johns also, “Defensively we made some key plays behind Sam to keep us in the game.”
The Golden Tide are now 14-6 and will meet Smethport on Thursday at 4:30 pm at Curwensville with the winner advancing to the District 9 Class A semi-finals.
Listen to Golden Tide baseball on WOKW-FM, 102.9 on Thursday with the pre-game starting at 4:15 pm.
The Curwensville Lady Tide softball team is in action on Wednesday as they travel to Coudersport in the District 9 Class A quarter-finals at 4:30 pm. That game can also be heard on WOKW starting with the pre-game at 4:15 pm.
KEYSTONE – 2
Kenny Alsop c 4000, Matt Hergenroeder 2b 4000, Zack Smith cf/p 3000, Brett Zuck p/ss 3220, Colt O’Neil 3022, Corbin Summerville 1b 2000, Chris Stephens pr 0000, Brandon Johnson 3b 2000, Mitchell Rearick p 1000, James Gillen lf 2000, Zach Baughman flex/rf, Scott Bashline dh 3010, Josh Lencer pr 0000, TOTALS – 27 2 5 2
CURWENSVILLE – 5
Jed Greslick ss 4120, Wes McGarry cf 4022, Sam Gardner p 3011, Brett Sutika 2b 3012, Shane Hoover 4010, Shae Best lf 2000, Jonathan Michaels 3000, Boone McGary 1b 2000, Jesse Zorger 0100, Alex Holland pr 0000, Derek Brothers 2320, TOTALS – 27 5 9 5
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
KEYSTONE 010 001 0 2 5 0
CURWENSVILLE 001 022 X 5 9 3
ERRORS – Brothers, Hoover, Gardner LOB – KEYSTONE 7 CURWENSVILLE 10 2B – Greslick; Zuck SB – Zuck; Greslick HBP – Best (by Zuck)
Zuck 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 1 HB
Smith 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
Rearick 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Gardner 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K
WP – Gardner (5-1) LP – Zuck (0-2)