HOUTZDALE — The Spike Island Pirates enjoyed a 6-run third inning Wednesday at the Houtzdale Woodward Recreation Park to take a big lead on Pennsylvania Grain Processing, then held on when the Huskers made a late charge, topping the visitors 10-7.
Spike Island led 8-3 after the 6-run third, thanks in large part to four PGP errors, along with four big hits. Only one of the six runs in the frame was earned.
“(Pirates head coach) Drew (Bryan) and I were talking before the game about how games at this level, involving high school kids are usually decided because of one bad inning,” PGP head coach Sid Lansberry said. “We made some mistakes that aren’t typical and they took advantage.”
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the third, Spike Island got consecutive singles from Doug Kolesar and Parker White to get things started.
Michael Kitko hit into a fielder’s choice that should have erased White from the base paths, but an infield error allowed him to reach safely, loading the bases.
Nathan Gustkey followed with a ground ball that knocked in Kolesar and reached on an infield error to keep the bases loaded. Another fielder’s choice, this time off the bat of Michael Kephart, and a third infield error allowed White to score, giving Spike Island a 4-3 lead.
After a groundout, Kephart and Gustkey executed a double steal to push another run across the plate. Nick Coudriet smacked an RBI single to drive in Kephart to make it a 7-3 lead.
One final PGP error have Spike Island its sixth run of the frame and an 8-3 advantage after three.
“As a coaching staff we decided to get guys running, put pressure on their defense like they did against us the first time we played,” Bryan said. “We made things happen on the base paths, put a lot of pressure on them. It was a the complete opposite of last game.
“We took advantage of some opportunities, some mistakes on their end. And we got some key hits, put the ball in play to see what happens. I was really proud of our effort. It was a mature win. We are very relieved to get back in the win column. That’s our first win in six games.”
The five-run cushion helped Coudriet settle in on the mound.
After giving up three consecutive singles to Morgen Billotte, Nolan Barr and Ryan Gearhart in the top of the second inning, which led to three PGP runs, Coudriet took control.
He tossed four scoreless innings from the third through the sixth before PGP made things interesting with a four-run seventh.
Coudriet went 6 1/3 innings, scattering nine hits, walking two batters and striking out three. He did surrender six earned runs. but three of those came in the seventh.
“Nick pitched his butt off,” Bryan said. “He went a little longer than he has been. His arm is probably a little tight. Nick’s a gamer. He might not blow it by guys, but he gets outs. He’s just one of those kids that you trust will give you a good outing and do what he can to get guys out.”
Spike Island tacked on a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to take what looked like a comfortable 10-3 lead. Jake DeSimone had an RBI double in the fifth, while Gustkey had a run-producing single in the sixth.
But PGP strung some hits together off a tiring Coudriet and benefitted from an outfield error to make things interesting.
Barr led off with a base hit and Gearhart reached when his fly ball was dropped.
Zach Tiracorda knocked in Barr with a base hit and Ty Troxell followed with a single that loaded the bases.
Karson Rumsky’s sacrifice fly scored Gearhart to make it 10-5 and Kyle Elensky drew a walk off Coudriet to end his day on the mound.
Allan Myers greeted relief pitcher Gavin Emigh with a 2-run double to close the gap on the scoreboard to 10-7.
But Emigh got a strikeout and a grounder back to him to end the threat and the game to pick up the save.
“That’s a freshman that didn’t get to play jayvee,” Bryan said of Emigh. “He’s pitched in big spots against older teams this season and has learned a lot. He came in today and pitched well at the end.”
“It was a good comeback,” Lansberry said. “One more base hit would have made it interesting.”
The Pirates (5-7) are back in action today at Rossiter. The Huskers (4-8) host the Miners on Tuesday.
Rumsky cf 3011, Elensky 3b-p 3000, A. Myers 1b 4012, Bailor c 4010, Prestash rf-3b 4000, Billotte ss 2110, Barr lf 3220, Gearhart 2b 3211, Dixon dh 2011, Tiracorda p-rf 1111, Troxell eh 3111. Totals: 32-7-10-7.
Kolesar rf 4220, Eckberg rf 0000, White 3b 2120, Emigh 1b-p 0000, Kitko eh 4100, Gustkey c 4232, Kephart 1b-3b-1b 4100, Wildman 2b-3b 2210, Coudriet p-2b 3121, Witherow dh 2001, Moore lf 1000, DeSimone cf 2011, Meersand ss 3010. Totals: 31-10-12-5.
Score by Innings
PGP 030 000 4—7 10 5
Spike Island 026 011 x—10 12 3
Errors—Gearhart, Billotte, Bailor, Elensky, Barr; Meersand, White, Eckberg. LOB—PGP 7, Spike Island 7. DP—PGP 2, Spike Island 1. 2B—A. Myers; Gustkey, DeSimone. SF—Rumsky. SB—Gustkey 2, Wildman 2, Coudriet 2, Kephart, DeSimone. HBP—White (by Elensky).
PGP: Tiracorda—3 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO; Elensky—3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.
Spike Island: Coudriet—6 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; Emigh—2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.
WP—Coudriet. LP—Tiracorda. Save—Emigh.