CURWENSVILLE — When the Golden Tide found their groove on Monday against West Branch, it was the momentum change that the squad needed. With the baseball season nearing its end, every game is beginning to become of greater importance.
At the same time, despite the success, all of Curwensville’s victories have come away from their home diamond. With only five games remaining on the season, the Tide wanted to finally get that win when they are in the shadow of the Curwesville high school. That opportunity came on Tuesday when the Tide played host to the Kane Wolves, a game that coach Tom Harzinski said was a must-win, and predicted that his team would win.
The story of the game wasn’t what Curwensville accomplished at the plate, but more about what Kane wasn’t able to do on the mound.
The Wolves would walk nine batters, while striking out just two, and that allowed easy runs for Curwensville to achieve their first home win of the season by a final of 9-3.
While the Wolves struggled on the mound, it was quite the opposite for the home squad. Austin Lansberry was the starter for Curwensville, and would turn in his best performance of the season. In six innings, he would yield only five hits, but threw 10 strikeouts, three of them called by the umpire, more than enough to earn the win.
“He was around the plate all game. He did get deep in the count a few times, which we don’t want him to do,” head coach Tom Harzinski said after the game.
Curwensville complemented their pitcher with excellent work at the plate. The second inning is where it started. After a pair of singles by R.J. Olson and Austin Butlin, Avery Francisco was walked to load the bases. Pitcher Cyrus Novosel then got in his groove with the bases loaded. Garrett Shaw would strike out, then with a full count Noah Strickland would get called out on an inside curve.
Noah VonGunden then would provide the opportunity to open the scoring, and did so without a swing. Novosel loaded the bases once again, but rather than get out of the jam, his 3-2 pitch went high, and drew the bases-loaded walk.
Novosel struggled all day, striking out just two while walking eight in the loss.
Curwensville added in another two runs in the third, the first on an RBI-single to right field by Olson, plating Jake Terry, and then Francisco hit a sacrifice fly to bring Hunter Lancaster to the plate.
Kane finally managed to get the bats working in the fourth. A lead-off single by Connor Crowley saw him get to second on an error by Strickland in center field. Three batters later Novosel helped his own cause with a deep RBI-single to center field to bring Crowley to the plate, making the score 3-1 in favor of the home squad.
Kane pulled to within one in the top of the fifth on an RBI-single by Ty Stahli, but it was the bottom half of the inning where Curwensville would not just put the game out of reach, but saw the entire line-up get to the plate.
A lead-off walk by Jake Terry would be stopped when Lancaster grounded out into a fielder’s choice, barely preventing the double play with some quick running. Olson would then get an infield single to put two runners on base, and then Austin Butlin would be walked to load the bases. Francisco then drew the sacrifice fly to deep center, bringing Lancaster to the plate. That would be the beginning of the end for Kane.
Pinch hitter Josh Terry came up with the RBI-single to plate Olson, and put runners on second and third. A pair of walks to Strickland and VonGunden would bring home Butlin, making the score 6-2.
At that point, Novosel’s day was done, and Austin Jordan would swap positions, putting Novosel at short stop.
It didn’t seem to work with the first at-bat, because Bryce Timko blasted a two-RBI single to bring Josh Terry and Strickland to the plate. The 8-2 deficit put the Wolves in a bind, but it also was something Harzinski was happy to see from his team considering how the game started in his eyes.
“We came out flat today for some reason, and we can’t do that against the teams we have upcoming,” he said. “First two innings we left five on base.”
Kane brought home a third run in the sixth inning on an RBI-ground out by Jake Silvis, but Lansberry got out of the jam, after putting runners on first and second, with a groundout by Jordan.
The sixth inning saw the last run of the game, but also see the pitching get a bit out of hand to start things off. Lancaster would be hit in the leg on the very first pitch, and Olson would then walk. Following a bunt by Butlin, the bases were loaded once again. That’s when Harzinski decided to gamble with the bases loaded, he called for Olson to try and steal home. He went right on the pitch, but Crowley had the plate covered for the out.
A short time later, with a successful bunt by Butlin, Francisco would be hit in the arm, once again on the first pitch he saw, and it brought Lancaster to the plate.
To close it out, Strickland came from center field to the mound hoping to seal the deal. It would be quick work as Stahli grounded out on a 1-0 pitch, then Crowley swung at the first pitch he saw, but Francisco picked it up and threw right to Timko for the second out. On a 1-2 pitch, Tanner Morehead connected past Strickland, but Jake Terry was right there to grab the ball and secure the final out, and the victory, with the throw to first.
At 6-10, Curwensville’s playoff hopes are still alive, but Harzinski is keeping his team focused because the final four games are becoming critical, and that is how he will have the team approach each contest.
“We’re taking every game as a must-win going forward,” Harzinski said.
Curwensville is on the road for the final game of the week as they will take on DuBois Central Catholic on Thursday evening.
SCORE BY INNING
Kane 000 111 0 – 3 5 1
Curwensville 012 051 X – 9 11 6
Kane – 3
Costanzo-2B 3110, Jordan-SS/P 3000, Stahli-3B 4010, Crowley-C 4110, Morehead-CF 4000, Lister-DH 3100, Novosel-P/SS 3011, Silvis-1B 3011, Holt-LF 3010. TOTALS 30 3 5 2.
Curwensville – 9
Strickland-CF/P 4100, VonGunden-2B 1001, McClure-PH 0001, Timko-1B 3012, Ja. Terry-SS 3120, Lancaster-DH 3320, Olson-RF 3231, Butlin-C 3120, Francisco-3B 1003, Shaw-LF 2000, Jo. Terry-PH 2111. TOTALS 25 9 11 9.
E: Silvis; Shaw, Ja. Terry (2), Francisco, Jo. Terry, Lansberry. LOB: KN-8; CV-10. SF: Francisco. HBP: Lancaster, Francisco. SB: Costanzo, Holt; Butlin, Ja. Terry, Lancaster, VonGunden, Francisco. CS: Olson.
Kane: Novosel-4.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 K, 8 BB; Jordan-1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 1 BB.
Curwensville: Lansberry-6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 10 K, 2 BB; Strickland-1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB.
Golden Tide Scoreboard:
|3/28||@ Philipsburg-Osceola||3 – 18||0 – 1|
|3/31||ST. MARYS||1 – 4||0 – 2|
|4/04||@ Johnsonburg||ppd.||0 – 2|
|4/06||ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC||3 – 13||0 – 3|
|4/08||@ West Branch||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/11||@ Clearfield||ppd.||0 – 3|
|4/14||@ Kane||15 – 3||1 – 3|
|4/15||@ Glendale||13 – 2||2 – 3|
|4/18||@ Harmony||16 – 6||3 – 3|
|4/20||DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH.||2 – 9||3 – 4|
|4/21||@ Brockway||3 – 4||3 – 5|
|4/22||@ Johnsonburg||9 – 3||4 – 5|
|4/25||MOSHANNON VALLEY||6 – 8||4 – 6|
|4/27||JOHNSONBURG||3 – 9||4 – 7|
|4/29||BROOKVILLE||ppd.||4 – 7|
|5/03||CLEARFIELD||0 – 13||4 – 8|
|5/04||@ St. Marys||4 – 9||4 – 9|
|5/06||BROOKVILLE||0 – 5||4 – 10|
|5/09||@ West Branch||13 – 6||5 – 10|
|5/10||KANE||9 – 3||6 – 10|
|5/12||@ DuBois Central Catholic|
|5/16||@ Elk County Catholic|