The quarter-final win by the Golden Tide will send them to the semi-finals on Tuesday in St. Marys were they will play AC Valley who upset the number one seeded Clarion squad 12-7, also on Thursday.
The hard fought victory was highlighted by Tide senior Wes McGarry picking up his sixth win by tossing a six hit, twelve strikeout performance and sophomore Boone McGary blasting a solo home run well over the right centerfield fence in the bottom of the fourth.
Tide coach Denny Johns spoke afterwards about his left-handed hurler, “Wes (McGarry) was as dominant as he has been all year long. He had complete command of his pitches all afternoon, mixing his breaking stuff with a good fast ball.”
The Hubbers broke a scoreless tie in their half of the third inning when Tony Farrell reached on an error and moved to third base on a double by Scott Stratton. With one out lead-off hitter Kevin Lord grounded out to second for out number two scoring Farrell and putting Smethport out in front 1-0.
Curwensville knew it was in for a battle, realizing they had to get their offense started, and they wasted no time as they picked up three tallies in the bottom half of the third frame.
With one out, senior Derek Brothers, batting ninth, singled and moved to second on a single by Tide lead-off man Jed Greslick.
Wes McGarry flew out to center for the second out making the Tide dig in. And dig in they did as Sam Gardner hit a two run double to left center followed by a booming RBI triple by Brett Sutika giving the Tide their three runs putting them in the lead 3-1.
McGary’s home run in the bottom of the fourth on an 0-2 pitch put the Tide in a comfortable position with a 4-1 margin over the thirteen seeded Hubbers after four innings.
However, Smethport wouldn’t go away quietly, as the Tide would soon find out.
The visitors from up north would tally a run in the top of the fifth inning as Farrell started it all with a single and would score from third base with two outs after Lord struck out. The third strike to Lord got by Tide catcher Jonathan Michaels who attempted to throw to first base to complete the play but unfortunately hit Lord on the helmet allowing Farrell to motor home from third.
That would end the scoring on the day for both teams, but Smethport would certainly make it interesting before the Tide could claim the win.
After McGarry struck out the side one, two, three in the top of the sixth Smethport turned the heat up in the top of the seventh.
Pinch hitter Karl Lightner singled to right to start the seventh for the Hubbers but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Farrell.
Two straight infield singles, one by Stratton and one by pinch hitter Zack Smith, had McGarry and the Tide staring at the bases loaded with one out and the top of the order coming up for the visitors from Smethport.
On a one-two pitch McGarry got Lord to pop out to short right field for out number two.
Mike Corbett then stepped into the batter’s box as the last hope for the Hubbers and on a two-two pitch drove a shot into right field were Tide right fielder Shane Hoover was positioned perfectly hauling in the third out and ending the game sending Curwensville to the D-9 semi-finals.
A relieved but happy Johns talked about the win, “In general we did what we had to do but we truly aren’t hitting like we did during most of the regular season.” Then Johns closed saying, “We just have to play our game. Turn up our offense more to put some pressure on our opponent. We’re half way to a District title which we have all worked very hard to try and achieve.”
NOTES: Brothers has started at third base for the Tide in the first two playoff games after an absence there. Batting in the number nine spot the Tide senior has gone four for four at the plate and has scored four of the Tide’s nine total runs in the first two playoff contests.
WOKW-FM 102.9 will broadcast the Curwensville-AC Valley semi-final Tuesday from St. Marys. The game will be played at Berwind Field with the time yet to be determined.
SMETHPORT – 2
Kevin Lord 2b/3b 4001, Mike Corbett rf/cf 4000, Brian Zetwick p/2b 3010, Jory Okerlund ss 3000, Al Myers c 3000, Clay Schuler cf/p 2000, Karl Lightner ph 1010, Tony Farrell 1b 3210, Scott Stratton 3b/lf 3020, Josh Johnson lf/rf 2000, Zack Smith ph 1010, TOTALS – 29 2 6 1
CURWENSVILLE – 4
Jed Greslick ss 3110, Wes McGarry p 3000, Sam Gardner cf 3112, Brett Sutika 2b 3011, Shane Hoover rf 3000, Shae Best lf 1000, Jonathan Michaels c 2000, Hunter McCracken 3b 1000, Boone McGary 1b 3111, Derek Brothers 3b/c 2120, TOTALS – 24 4 6 4
SCORE BY INNINGS R H E
SMETHPORT 001 010 0 2 6 2
CURWENSVILLE 003 100 X 4 6 2
ERRORS – Brothers, Michaels; Farrell, Schuler LOB – SMETHPORT – 6 CURWENSVILLE – 4 2B – Brothers, Gardner; Stratton 3B – Sutika HR – McGary (solo, 4th) SB – Sutika
Zetwick 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Schuler 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
McGarry 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K
WP – McGarry (6-2) LP – Zetwick (4-4)