Philipsburg Pirates open playoffs with win|
Monday, July 16, 2012
By Rich Murawski Assistant Sports Editor
PHILIPSBURG - Despite coming into Sunday's Centre County Baseball League playoff opener as the eight seed, Mifflin County had regular season champ and top-seeded Philipsburg on the ropes.
The Stars scored seven runs on 10 hits through their first four at-bats and held what seemed like a comfortable 7-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
But no lead is comfortable against a potent Philipsburg lineup, which scored 12 times in the final three innings to rally for a 14-7 win at the Don Womer Baseball Complex.
"(Mifflin County starting pitcher) Kalen Gearhart is a heck of a pitcher," Philipsburg left fielder Scott Winters said. "And Mifflin County is a good team. I think they only had six wins, so people don't realize how good they are. They played everyone close. We knew coming into the game that we were going to have our hands full with him pitching."
Gearhart allowed just two runs on two hits through the first three innings before the Philipsburg bats came alive.
"Once we went through our lineup a couple times and everyone was able to see him, we started hitting the ball real well," Winters said. "But he kept us off-balance and threw strikes."
Philipsburg closed the gap to 7-5 in the fourth inning, thanks to a run-scoring double from A.J. Robinson and a two-run home run off the bat of Tyler Good.
The Pirates took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth when Robinson connected on the first pitch he saw from Gearhart, sending it over the wall in right-center field for a three-run shot.
Jeremy Potter and John Shaffer, who both singled, scored in front of Robinson to give Philipsburg an 8-7 lead.
"Hitting's contagious," Winters said. "Someone gets it started and it just rolls down hill from there. Everyone gets excited. Those home runs from Tyler and A.J. really picked us up. We really needed that. One good thing about the Don Womer Complex is when it's windy ... it's windy."
Philipsburg continued piling on runs in the bottom of the sixth, putting six on the board.
With one out, Josh Potter reached on an infield single. Matt Curtis and Jeremy Potter drew consecutive walks to load the bases for Ryan Mostyn, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Josh Potter.
Shaffer followed with a three-run bomb to left field, his second home run of the game, as Philipsburg surged to a 12-7 advantage.
"He hit two home runs, and we had four as a team," Winters said. "John, Tyler and A.J. hit the ball well. Those home runs really helped us."
Robinson walked after Shaffer's shot, and Good chased him home with a double. Good scored the 14th and final run when Nick Daye singled to center.
Mifflin County jumped out to a 7-2 lead, scoring two runs in the first and second, and three in the fourth off Pirates starter Tyler Golden.
Nic Beamenderfer had a two-run single in the first, Evan Pupo added a two-run triple in the second, and Gearhart clubbed a three-run home run in the fourth inning. Gearhart was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs.
"They hit the ball great today," Winters said of the Stars. "Tyler doesn't get hit like that often."
Philipsburg sent Parker Watson to the hill in the fifth, and the righty shut down the Mifflin County bats. He allowed two singles and struck out two in three innings of work to get the win.
"Parker pitched great," Winters said. "He threw lots of strikes and was throwing hard. His curveball was working very well. He did a great job.
"He hasn't pitched for us yet this season, and we're sure glad to have him for the playoffs."
Shaffer led the Pirates offense, going 4-for-4 with fours runs scored and four RBIs. Robinson was 2-for-2 with three runs and four RBIs and also drew a pair of walks. That follows a three-hit performance in Philipsburg's regular-season finale against Lewistown.
"He's a great batter," Winters said. "He sees the ball well, and he only swings at good pitches. He ended the regular season with our highest batting average. He always hits the ball and he always comes to play. And he did a fantastic job again today."
Good and Daye also had two hits for Philipsburg, which travels to Mifflin County Tuesday in Game 2 of the series.
"We got the first game. That's important," Winters said. "That's always the big one. That, and the last one."
Spade cf 4110, E. Pupo 2b 3112, Gearhart p 4233, N. Pupo 1b 4120, Beamenderfer 3b 4022, Walker ss 3000, Billett c 3010, Long lf 3220, Kahley rf 1000, Beck rf 2000. Totals: 31-7-12-7.
Curtis 2b 4100, Je. Potter 3b-cf 3210, Mostyn ss 3001, Shaffer dh-3b 4444, Golden p 0000, Robinson rf 2324, Good 1b 4323, Daye c 4021, Watson cf-p 4011, Winters lf 2000, Jo. Potter lf 1110. Totals: 31-14-13-14.
Score by Innings
Mifflin County 220 300 0-7 12 0
Philipsburg 020 336 x-14 13 0
LOB-Mifflin County; Philipsburg 3. DP-Philipsburg 1. 2B-N. Pupo; Robinson, Good. 3B-E. Pupo; Watson. HR-Gearhart (2 on, 4th); Shaffer 2 (solo, 2nd; 2 on, 6th), Good ( 1 on, 4th), Robinson (2 on, 5th). SF-Mostyn.
Mifflin County: Gearhart-6 IP, 13 H, 14 R, 14 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO.
Philipsburg: Golden-4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO; Watson-3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 S0.