MYRTLE BEACH, SC — For the second straight season, the Golden Tide of Curwensville started the baseball season on the road. Not just on the road, but actually out of state. The Tide made a long trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as part of the Cal Ripken Experience, and started their campaign for 2019 against the Deer Lakes Lancers, who make the trip from Russelton, Pennsylvania.
Curwensville put up a strong effort, but the Lancers were dealing very early, and put the Tide in a hole they couldn’t overcome, dropping the season opener, 9-5.
After stranding one in the top of the first inning, Curwensville starter Jake McCracken struck out Andrew Bokulich. However, the wheels came off immediately thereafter.
Cory Newinan singled down the third baseline, then Josh Probst was hit on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on first and second. Will Meyer then pushed in the first run with an RBI-single to deep right field, as Newinan rounded home on an error by Cole Bressler. Probst then made it home on the same error to give the Lancers the 2-0 advantage with only one out on the board. Meyer then made his way home on a single to left field from Justin Brannagun. Greg Geis tried to score from second, but was tagged out heading home for the second out of the inning.
The final out of the first inning came when Jake Yaconis struck out, but not after achieving the 3-0 lead.
It only got worse for McCracken in the second inning, as he gave up three more earned runs before the first out. Drew Pavlik came in on a fielder’s choice, followed by both Ryan Rodgers and Bokulich on separate tag ups. At that moment, head coach Tom Harzinski walked to the mound and made some moves with his team. McCracken moved to center field, Christian Bakaysa then took the mound, then Avery Francisco shifted into left field.
McCracken ultimately got the loss in the one-plus inning effort, giving up six earned runs and a getting a pair of strikeouts.
For Deer Lakes, Geis was dealing on the mound all game long, going six and a third innings, striking out 10, while only giving up two earned runs.
Bakaysa gave up the final two earned runs of his day in the third inning from an RBI-single by Yaconis to score Brannagun, and then Yaconis on a fielder’s choice.
Curwensville got on the board in the sixth inning on a pair of errors, scoring both Francisco and McCracken. The bottom of the inning saw the final run scored by the Lancers, an RBI-double by Probst that scored Newinan.
Yet, in the top of the seventh, Curwensville decided to rally, hoping to get the lead and force the designated home team to take the field one more time. A pair of singles put Noah VonGunden and Jake Mullins on base, then Francisco struck with a swift two-RBI double from behind in the count to begin the rally. McCracken then brought home Francisco with a ground-rule double to deep left field, bringing the game to within striking distance.
Unfortunately, Ralph Evans flew out to right field, then Bakaysa struck out, and the game came to an end with Curwensville dropping the season opener.
SCORE BY INNING
Curwensville 000 002 3 – 5 8 1
Deer Lakes 332 001 X – 9 6 2
Curwensville – 5
VonGunden-SS 2110, Mullins-2B 4110, Francisco-CF/LF 4232, McCracken-P/CF 4121, Evans-1B 4012, Bakaysa-LF/P/RF 4000, Wilson-DH 3000, Farley-3B 2000, Heitsenreather-3B 1000, Bressler-RF 1000, Irwin-RF 0000, Brown-PH 1000, Vance-P 1000. TOTALS 31 5 8 5.
Deer Lakes – 9
Bokulich-CF 3100, Newinan-SS 3211, Probst-C 3112, Meyer-1B 4111, Geis-P/RF 1000, Lippke-PH 1000, Brannagun-RF 1111, Wheeler-RF/P 1000, Yaconis-3B 2111, Kelley-3B 0000, Pavlik-DH 2110, Knickerboker-PH 1000, Rodgers-2B 2101. TOTALS 24 9 6 7.
2B: Francisco, McCracken/Probst
FC: Newinan, Rodgers
E: Bressler/Newinan, Wheeler
HBP: Bokulich, Probst
DP: Evans, VonGunden
SB: Francisco/Brannagun, Rodgers
Curwensville: McCracken-1+ IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB; Bakaysa-3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 SO, 1 BB; Vance-2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 SO, 2 BB.
Deer Lakes: Geis-6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 10 SO, 2 BB; Wheeler-0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 SO, 0 BB.
WP: Geis (1-0). LP: McCracken (0-1)
SV: Wheeler (1)