CURWENSVILLE — After finally getting back on the field Monday afternoon, Tom Harzinski and his Curwensville Golden Tide baseball team had to brush off the tough loss and refocus their efforts. Another trip down the hill from the high school was on the schedule, and making the long drive to provide the competition in the opposing dugout were the Johnsonburg Rams.
For the visitors, Neil MacDonald was given the opportunity to start his first game of 2017, while Curwensville put their trust in the left arm of Austin Lansberry for the first time this year.
Through four innings, the two squads kept the game close, with a slight advantage to Johnsonburg. One inning later, the advantage went permanently to the visitors. A four-run inning that saw 10 batters, seven reaching base, two different pitchers, and five walks put the Tide in a hole they could not dig out of, ultimately falling to the Rams, 8-5.
Lansberry struggled to start the afternoon, giving up a lead-off double to Johnny Mitchell to start the game, then walking MacDonald. Two batters later, Ben Ames hit a deep single to center field that brought Mitchell home for the first run of the game.
In the bottom half of the inning, MacDonald had worse struggles as he walked Noah VonGunden, Josh Terry, and Avery Francisco, loading the bases right away and prompting a meeting at the mound to regroup.
It worked as a fielder’s choice from Bryce Timko prevented the first run from scoring, as VonGunden was tagged out at home, plus put the first out on the board. Lansberry then struck out, giving MacDonald a chance to get out from an early jam. Unfortunately, Zach McClure was having none of that. He took a 1-2 pitch low, and pushed it deep in the gap between left and center field, pulling both Terry and Francisco to the plate, and Curwensville was now in the lead for the first time on the day. Austin Butlin then struck out to close the opening inning.
The third inning is when the bats went to work again for Johnsonburg. MacDonald led off with a single in the hole between short and third, then proceeded to steal a pair of bases to put him in scoring position.
Ames came up for his second at-bat, and made it count. He connected on a perfect suicide squeeze, bringing MacDonald home and knotting the game at two runs a piece.
In the fourth inning, Curwensville made a pitching change, bringing in VonGunden from his short stop position, and initially things looked good for the young man. After two strikeouts, it changed.
Three consecutive walks to Tyler Singer, Zack Zameroski, and Mitchell loaded the bases the easy way. MacDonald then came to the plate, and with a full count, blasted the ball to the back of the outfield, right to the warning track. It was plenty enough to bring home Singer and Zameroski, putting Johnsonburg back out front once more, 4-2. A strikeout by Justin Kasmierski ended the inning, and ultimately also ended VonGunden’s day at the mound.
Curwensville never regained the lead, meaning despite only one inning of work, VonGunden got tabbed with the loss.
MacDonald, meanwhile, was still dealing. He lasted through the fifth inning, giving up only one more run, that coming in the fourth inning when Christian Bakaysa hit an RBI-single to deep left-center that brought McClure to the plate.
MacDonald tossed seven strikeouts compared to three walks, and five hits, in his winning effort.
The fifth inning, although good for MacDonald in the bottom half, was the downfall of Curwensville when the Rams came to the plate. Ames started things off with another lead-off double. Ben Freeburg then got struck by a 1-0 pitch, and with runners on first and second, VonGunden was pulled, and McClure was brought in to take over.
Things sadly went even worse for the home team. McClure walked Austin Green, loading the bases right away. After striking out Jacob Wickett, Ames came home easily on a walk. Zameroski advanced to first on a fielder’s choice, but the bases remained loaded. Mitchell, MacDonald, and Kasmierski all then walked to bring in Green, Singer and Zasmierski.
With two outs on the board, McClure was relieved of his pitching duties, and Bakaysa then took to the mound, hoping to get the inning complete.
He did just that with a strikeout to Ames, but not before the one-run gap suddenly expanded to five, and little time to rally.
Bakaysa did show strength in his 2.1 innings of work, striking out four and yielding only one walk.
Curwensville found some life in the final inning, starting off with a lead-off double by Francisco. Devan Barrett then pinch-hit in the seventh inning, and made it count, as his fielder’s choice was good enough to plate Francisco, cutting the deficit down to 8-4. One batter later, McClure connected on a single that brought Barrett home.
After Austin Butlin struck out, Johnsonburg pulled Mitchell from center field and had him go for the save. After walking both Brewer and Bakaysa, VonGunden connected on the first pitch, and flew out to left field, giving Mitchell his first save of the year.
Curwensville (0-3) will try to get its first win of the year on Friday when it closes its four-game run of home games against West Branch.
SCORE BY INNING
Johnsonburg 101 240 0 – 8 5 2
Curwensville 200 100 2 – 5 7 4
Johnsonburg – 8
Johnny Mitchell CF/P 3111, Neil MacDonald P/CF 2110, Jacob Anderson PH 1000, Justin Kasmierski 3B 4011, Ben Ames C 3122, Garret Gregori PH 0000, Ben Freeburg 2000, Daunte Allegretto PH 2000, Austin Green SS/P 3100, Jacob Wickett RF 3000, Tyler Singer 1B 2200, Zack Zameroski LF 3200. TOTALS 28 8 5 4.
Curwensville – 5
Noah VonGunden SS/P 3010, Josh Terry CF 3100, Avery Francisco 2B 3220, Bryce Timko LF/1B 3000, Austin Lansberry P/RF 2000, Matt Carter RF 1000, Devan Barrett PH 1101, Zach McClure 1B/P 4132, Austin Butlin C 4000, Zach Brewer DH 3000, Christian Bakaysa RF/P 2000, Ralph Evans 2B 1011. TOTALS 30 5 7 5.
ER-Green (2); Timko, VonGunden (2), Farley. LOB-JB-12, CV-11. 2B-Mitchell; McClure, Francisco. SAC-Ames. SB-Mitchell, MacDonald (3), Green, Ames (2), Allegretto (2); Francisco.
Johnsonburg: MacDonald-5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 7 K, 3 BB; Green-1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB; Mitchell-0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 2 BB.
Curwensville: Lansberry-3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 BB; VonGunden-1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 3 BB; McClure-0.2 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 K, 4 BB; Bakaysa-2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.
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|
|4/18||@ Mo Valley|
|4/21||@ DuBois Central Catholic|
|5/02||@ Elk County Catholic|
|5/17||DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH|