Philipsburg Pirates take CCL title|
Monday, August 13, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
PHILIPSBURG - When you have a chance to win a championship, any one play can have a direct effect on the outcome.
Philipsburg Pirates centerfielder Matt McCamley has made the play a thousand times, but the shot off the bat of Lemont's Nick Carothers on Sunday in Philipsburg was the exception to the rule.
After his team rallied from a 7-2 deficit to take a 10-8 lead into the seventh on Tyler Good's 2-run home run, the Ducks made their move against Josh Potter, who was attempting to earn the save and shut the door on the series.
With a runner on first, Carothers' shot to center tailed away from McCamley, who appeared to have a bead on it before the ball skimmed off his glove and skipped to the fence.
McCamley's miscue put runners on second and third with one out and allowed the Ducks to knot the score of their Centre County League championship series at 10 on a 2-run double by Ben Sallade.
Despite the miscue, McCamley showed his short memory when he took advantage of his shot for redemption.
McCamley belted a 2-ball offering from Lemont reliever Clint Eury to right field for the game-winning double to give the Pirates their first title, 11-10.
The championship had eluded Philipsburg in each of its first three seasons - all of which ended with losses to the Ducks in the finals of the best-of-5 format.
"I was so disappointed when I misplayed that ball in center," said McCamley, whose team swept the series. "I don't know what it was. I don't know if I got a bad read on it or what, but I feel bad for Josh because he was out there for the last inning. I was pretty down on that.
"I was pacing in the dugout, hoping to get a chance to get up there. I put a good swing on the ball."
After a double play by second baseman Matt Curtis, the third of which he started on the day, got Potter out of a runners-on-the-corners jam, McCamley got the opportunity to atone for his error and didn't pass it up.
Eury plunked J.D. Mason with the first pitch of the seventh and intentionally walked Curtis, who already had a pair of home runs to his credit, two batters later.
After four straight pitches to Curtis, Eury struggled to find the strike zone against McCamley, who made him pay when he did.
"(Eury) got behind in the count and that let me know that a fastball was coming," McCamley said. "It was on the outer third of the plate and I just kind of drove it that way.
"I was looking for a 2-0 fastball, and that's what he brought."
While his sterling defensive play in the seventh kept the game tied at 10, Curtis' bat was largely responsible for the Pirates' rally from a sluggish start.
The Ducks took a 4-0 lead after the top of the first and led 7-2 when Curtis strolled to the plate in the fourth.
Curtis, who is Philipsburg's leadoff hitter, connected on the first of his two bombs in the game off Lemont starter Aaron Tressler.
The shot to left plated both Mason and Jeremy Potter to pull the Pirates to within a pair.
After each team added another run, Curtis' solo blast preceded Ryan Mostyn's game-tying homer in the sixth before Good put his team ahead temporarily.
"There was a joke the other day that they were going to start testing me for steroids," said Curtis, whose two-homer game was the first of his career. "I wasn't expecting to hit two out. I was just trying to get the ball to the gap and for a pitch to drive."
With the monkey off their backs, Curtis is hopeful the Pirates will be able to defend their title next year.
"The last two years have been tough on us," said Curtis, whose team held 2-1 advantages in 2010 and 2011. "Lemont's been a big powerhouse in this league ... and we know how good of a team they are.
"It's been a long time coming. The sweep makes this even better. They're such a good team. They've been the class of the league, and it's nice to knock them off that pedestal. Hopefully we can give that seven-time (mark) a run for its money."
Carothers 2b 4221, Sallade lf 4222, Mock 3b 5231, Martinez cf 2212, Wright ss 4121, Kempton 1b 4010, Menna rf 4000, Wolanski c 4020, Tressler p 0000, Eury p 0000, Holzwarth dh 3110. Totals: 34-10-14-7.
Curtis 2b 3224, McCamley cf 5231, Mostyn ss 4111, Lytle p 0000, Jo. Potter p 0000, Shaffer dh 3212, Robinson rf 4010, Good 1b 4112, Lidgett pr 0000, Daye lf 3010, Watson lf 0000, Mason c 3210, Je. Potter 3b 3120. Totals: 32-11-13-10.
Score by Innings
Lemont 430 001 2-10 14 2
Philipsburg 200 404 1-11 13 3
One out when winning run scored.
Errors-Mock, Sallade; Daye, Je. Potter, McCamley. LOB-Lemont 9, Philipsburg 8. DP-Philipsburg 3. 2B-Sallade; McCamley 2. 3B-Mock. HR-Carothers (solo, 1st inning), Martinez (1 on, 1st inning); Curtis 2 (2 on, 4th inning; solo, 6th inning); Mostyn (solo, 6th inning), Shaffer (1 on, 1st inning), Good (2 on, 6th inning). SAC-Daye, Je. Potter. SB-Carothers. HBP-Mason (by Eury). WP-Tressler 1; Lytle 2.
Lemont: Tressler-5 2/3 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; Eury-2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO.
Philipsburg: Lytle-6 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 6 BB, 3 SO; Jo. Potter-1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO.
WP-Jo. Potter. LP-Eury.