CURWENSVILLE — Not being able to play on the diamond for any baseball team is frustrating, especially when it’s due to something they can’t control. Mother Nature has not been kind to the central Pennsylvania area for the last two weeks, bringing in heavy rain, snow, and even wind to cause many high school baseball games to be postponed to later in the season.
Curwensville has been no different. The last time they were actually on the field playing was back on March 24, playing in South Carolina.
They have yet to even take the field at their own field as their home opener was postponed one week later, as was every other game for the last two weeks. On Friday, finally, the Golden Tide stepped onto their high school field for their home opener, after a two-week wait to finally play again. Their opposition was a familiar foe during their season, the Warriors of West Branch.
The visiting team gave Ayden Gutierrez the start on this chilly afternoon. But Curwensville decided to put in their ace for the contest, Bryce Timko.
It became clear that the pitching, along with the defense, would decide the winner as Timko went through five scoreless innings, while the Tide defense held strong to commit no errors in a 3-0 triumph over the Warriors.
Timko’s first inning on the mound could not have gone better. Despite an opening walk to Tyler Hoover, he dug in and struck out his next two batters, then saw Zach Brewer end the inning on a fielder’s choice to swap sides.
That was when Curwensville opened things up. Noah VonGunden started with a lead-off walk, then Jeremiah Farley nailed an infield single. Unfortunately for the third batter, Avery Francisco, the very first pitch struck him and he went to first base in a bit of pain. Luckily, it loaded up the bags for Timko. He struck out, but the scoring began with the next at-bat when Jack McCracken walked to first, plating VonGunden for the first run. Brewer flew out for a sacrifice fly to score the second out, scoring Farley to make the score 2-0.
The inning ended when Francisco was picked off at third base, but not before Curwensville had the lead. At that point, Timko began to do exactly what he has done for the last few years on the mound: dominate.
The senior pitcher who has been the eye of many scouts even as early as a sophomore, went through the next four innings with blazing results. Timko would finish the afternoon with a 5 1/3 inning performance, striking out 10 batters, his second double-digit strikeout performance this season, and only walking three while giving up three hits. It was more than enough to take the victory on this afternoon.
Curwensville added one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning when VonGunden scored his second run of the afternoon, this one unearned, on the second error by West Branch’s Hunter Ransdorf.
Gutierrez did not have the kind of help he wanted despite his strong performance over four innings. The two runs he gave up in the first inning sadly gave him the loss for the afternoon.
McCracken and Timko swapped positions after one out in the fifth inning, as Timko threw 73 pitches and with a pair of games slated for next week, head coach Tom Harzinski wanted him time to recover in case he needed him for a relief effort. McCracken was not as strong on the mound as his teammate, but what helped him was strong defense from the Tide.
Despite yielding two hits, Curwensville’s defense ensured no base runner would get to second base thanks to fly outs, ground outs, and a pair of strikeouts.
McCracken’s efforts in relief earned him the save for the afternoon, securing the victory for Curwensville.
Now at 2-1, Curwensville will start the week with a pair of road games, first against Johnsonburg on Monday, then a make-up game from this past week against Elk County Catholic. Both games are set for a 4:15 p.m. first pitch. Curwensville will end the week with a rare Saturday game again against Johnsonburg, with an early 11 a.m. start.
SCORE BY INNING
West Branch 000 000 0 – 0 4 2
Curwensville 200 010 X – 3 3 0
West Branch – 0
Hoover CF 2000, Morlock LF 3000, Gutierrez P/SS 2010, Cantolina SS/P 3000, Krause-Thompson DH 3000, Dale C 2000, Guenot PH 1010, Emigh RF 1000, Herring PH 1000, Milliron 3B 3010, Kolesar 1B 3010. TOTALS 23 0 4 0.
Curwensville – 3
VonGunden SS 2200, Evans 3B 3120, Francisco C 2000, Timko P/CF 3000, McCracken CF/P 2001, Brewer 1B 3001, Heitsenrether LF 2010, Farley 3B1000, Bressler PH 1000, Bakaysa RF 3000. TOTALS 22 3 3 2.
LOB: WB – 6; Cville – 6. ER: Ransdorf (2). SAC: Kolesar. HBP: Francisco (by Gutierrrez). SB: Brewer, Francisco, VonGunden. CS: Emigh.
West Branch: Gutierrez-4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 K, 3 BB; Cantolina-2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.
Curwensville: Timko-5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 10 SO, 3 BB; McCracken-1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB.
WP-Timko (1-0). LP-Gutierrez (0-1). SV-McCracken (1)
Date Opponent Score Record
3/23 @ Broadalbin-Perth, NY 1 – 2, 8 inn. 0 – 1
3/24 @ Friends Select School, PA 9 – 2 1 – 1
3/27 BROCKWAY ppd. 1 – 1
3/29 @ Punxsutawney ppd. 1 – 1
4/05 @ Elk County Catholic ppd. 1 – 1
4/06 @ West Branch 3 – 0 2 – 1
4/09 @ Johnsonburg
4/10 @ Elk County Catholic
4/16 @ Glendale
4/17 @ Kane
4/19 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH
4/24 @ Brockway
4/26 MO VALLEY
5/01 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
5/07 @ Harmony
5/15 @ Clearfield
5/16 @ DuBois Central Catholic