Curwensville Bats Get Timely Hits in Season Finale Victory

MORRISDALE — All season long, Tom Harzinski has said the one thing that has been the biggest challenge for the Curwensville Golden Tide on the baseball diamond has been hitting.  The Tide have not gotten the bat contact that they have desired all year, resulting in many low-scoring outings, and a lot of frustration.

The final game of the 2019 season came on Friday afternoon as the Tide made the trip to Morrisdale to take on the West Branch Warriors, the second time the two have met in one week.  This time, the Tide bats came alive, giving them timely hitting and one solid inning that put them ahead for good, ending the year with a 6-4 triumph over the Warriors.

“It was a great way to close out the season,” Harzinski said afterwards.  “We hit the ball against a good pitcher.  That’s what we should have been doing all year, but we came out and played hard today.

West Branch put Josh Cantolina on the mound to start the afternoon, and through three innings he was dealing, as he yielding only a pair of hits.  But when the fourth inning got going, things quickly took a turn.

It started with Jake McCracken, who started the game for Curwensville on the mound, as he reached on an error.  Then Noah Von Gunden singled into left field.  Keagan Wilson then walked, loading the bases, and that was the perfect setup for Matt Brown.  Still with no outs on the board, he drilled a line ball into right field to bring both McCracken and Von Gunden home to start the scoring.  A pair of walks followed of both Broc Heitsenrether and Seth Sunderlin, but Heitsenrether was soon picked off second for the first out of the inning.

But, soon after a bases-loaded walk of Christian Bakaysa brought Wilson home, making it 3-0.  Run number four came on a Jake Mullins single, plating Brown, and runs five and six came courtesy of a fielding error to bring Bakaysa and Mullins to the plate.

The entire Curwensville lineup went to bat in the fourth inning, giving them a 6-0 advantage that they would not yield.

“Matt’s hit really got things going for us.  He’s a timely hitter, and he got that today, and it just got us going,” Harzinski said.  “That one inning is one we needed for confidence.”

When the Tide took over in the bottom of the inning it was quick work for McCracken as he only hurled six pitches that led to three ground outs to hold the lead.  He would stay on the mound for six and a third innings, yielding all four earned runs while striking out two.

“Jake was battling all afternoon, and it gave us the ability to play.  I was impressed at how we played as a group, and that helped us a lot,” Harzinski said.

West Branch then started to claw back, as the fans kept dodging heavy rain that decided to play a role in the game.  A bases-loaded walk allowed Luke Guenot to score the first run of the afternoon for the Warriors, followed by a fielder’s choice to plate Zach Tiracoda, and an outfield assist then brought home run number three.

By the fifth inning, Cantolina was relieved of his duties and it was David Kolesar on the mound.  Cantolina got dinged with the loss after three innings of work.

Finally, after waiting out a short period for the West Branch coaches to dry both the mound and the batter’s box due to the quick but heavy hit of rain on a few occasions, the last inning was on and the Curwensville fans that made the trip were hoping to end it on the positive side of the scoreboard.  It started off rough as Kolesar got a lead-off double to put a run immediately in scoring position.  But, a flyout by Eddie Dale then put one out on the score sheet.

A walk of Aiden Gutierrez put two potential runs on the board, and a wild pitch moved Kolesar to third.

After the walk by Gutierrez, McCracken was pulled in favor of Caleb Vance, who was trying to get his first save of the year.

A ground out by Cantolina put the fourth run on the board, and suddenly the Tide fans were thinking it was going to be the same thing all over again.  But, even after a walk of Kyle Moore, the game came to a conclusion with a final fly out, one that ironically went into the glove of McCracken, who moved to second base after the pitching change.

“It was a good way to send our seniors off,”  Harzinski said.  “Obviously, we will have a lot to do for next year since we’re losing a lot of great, key players.  But, many of our young guys are playing summer league, and that will help us out.  Today, it was just great to see the seniors leave the field with a victory.  I’m very proud.”

Curwensville’s season ends with a final record of 4-16.

SCORE BY INNING

Curwensville  000 600 0 – 6 8 3
West Branch  000 030 1 – 4 3 3

Curwensville – 6

Mullins 2B/SS 3131, Evans DH 3000, McCracken P/2B 4100, Von Gunden SS 4130, Wilson 1B 3100, Brown 3B 4112, Heitsenrether RF/LF/2B 3000, Bakaysa CF 3110, Sunderlin PH 0001, Bressler LF 1000, Vance RF/P 2000.  TOTALS 30 6 8 4.

West Branch – 4

Kolesar 2B/P 2210, Dale C 2001, Gutierrez SS 2001, Cantolina P/2B/LF/CF 4001, Moore RF 2000, Cox 1B 4000, Guenot LF/2B/3B 3110, Tiracoda CF/LF 1110, Graham DH 3000.  TOTALS 4 3 3 3.

2B:  Mullins, Von Gunden/Kolesar, 3B:  Von Gunden, SAC:  Evans, HBP:  Vance, SB:  Mullins/Gutierrez, Cantolina, Tiracoda, Graham, CS:  Tiracoda, E:  Heitsenrether, Von Gunden, Wilson/Cox-2, Tiracoda,
LOB:  Cville – 9 WB – 8

PITCHING

Curwensville:  McCracken-6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 SO, 9 BB; Vance-0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 SO, 1 BB.

West Branch:  Cantolina-3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB; Kolesar-4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 7 SO, 2 BB.

WP-McCracken (2-3)
LP-Cantolina (2-5)
SV-Vance (1)

Final Golden Tide Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
3/22 Deer Lakes @ S. Carolina 5 – 9 0 – 1
3/23 Lakeview @ S. Carolina 4 – 9 0 – 2
3/26 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATH. 2 – 8 0 – 3
3/28 BROCKWAY 5-2, 10 inn. 1 – 3
4/02 HARMONY 11 – 1 2 – 3
4/04 @ Clearfield 2 – 5 2 – 4
4/08 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC 4 – 5 2 – 5
4/10 @ Kane 2 – 1 3 – 5
4/12 @ Mo Valley ppd. 3 – 5
4/15 @ West Branch ppd. 3 – 5
4/16 @ Punxsutawney 4 – 14 3 – 6
4/17 @ West Branch ppd. 3 – 6
4/18 @ Johnsonburg 0 – 8 3 – 7
4/22 @ Elk County Catholic 1 – 3 3 – 8
4/23 @ DuBois Central Catholic 0 – 13 3 – 9
4/25 @ Brockway 1 – 2 3 – 10
5/03 MO VALLEY 1 – 5 3 – 11
5/06 WEST BRANCH 1 – 11 3 – 12
5/07 KANE 6 – 10 3 – 13
5/09 GLENDALE 0 – 9 3 – 14
5/13 CLEARFIELD ppd. 3 – 14
5/14 @ West Branch ppd. 3 – 14
5/15 JOHNSONBURG 0 – 8 3 – 15
5/16 CLEARFIELD 0 – 13 3 – 16
5/17 @ West Branch 6 – 4 4 – 16

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