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April 6, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Panthers roll past McDowell

April 6, 2013 7:00 a.m. SAEGERTOWN — It’s not going to help out in the region race. And it isn’t going to win a District 10 title. But the Saegertown baseball team was understandably psyched to get a somewhat comfy victory over Class AAAA McDowell, 10-4, during a frigid Friday afternoon at the Saegertown American Legion’s Ed Acker Field.

“Great win. Great win,” said Saegertown third baseman Drew Durasa. “That’s the way to set the tone, beating a Quad-A team. That’s what we wanted to see.”

It was McDowell’s first loss of the season. The Trojans are now 3-1.

Saegertown improved to 3-2 with the victory.

“Very well played,” said Panthers head coach Tim Crum. “Pitching, Luke (Carter) did a fantastic job. ... Defensively, we were solid. The bats came alive. We ran the bases well. The momentum was on our side and it stayed on our side for the most part.”

Carter indeed tossed a doozy for the Panthers. On McDowell’s first trip through the lineup, they had six base hits. But Carter held them to just three more the rest of the game, retiring 11 batters in a row at one point.

“That kid did a heck of a job,” said Trojans head coach Mike Hayes. “To have any pitcher get out there and keep pitching in this kind of weather, it’s a mental grind. So, he did a nice job.”

Carter finished the day with four earned runs on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

“I had to get used to the wind,” said Carter. “The wind was ridiculous. So, my two-seam was coming right across the plate. I’d start it on the outside of the plate and it would end up right down the middle. So I had to adjust to that and once I adjusted to that, it was fine.”

McDowell was able to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to singles by Riley Warren, Matt Hansen, Brian Bohman and Jake Wolf.

The Panthers, however, got those runs right back in the bottom of the first. Stephen Sada and Austin Scere both walked and scored. Mitchell Wood had a bunt single. Tyler Walters walloped an RBI double to the fence in left field. And Carter drove in a run with a single.

“The (top of the) first inning, that happens,” said Durasa. “We shook it off, got the bats out and we responded well. We kept our heads up.”

McDowell’s first two batters in the second inning both reached base on singles. But Carter fanned Warren for out No. 1. Then Anthony McGreevey lined out to first baseman Luke Basko, who then stepped on first to double up base runner Tyler Mello to end the frame.

“I think the crucial inning was when we had runners at first and second and we didn’t get any runs across,” said Hayes. “(Carter) got a big strikeout on Riley. And then we just died out. That hurt us there. Usually we’re making things happen.”

Saegertown then added three runs to its tally in the third inning. Durasa, Kyle Wise, Wood and Austin Scere each had singles in the frame.

The Panthers then added four more runs in the fifth. Wood had his third base knock of the ball game. Walters drove in a run with a single. Carter had a two-run double to the left-center gap. And Durasa and Matt Thompson also had hits.

The Panthers hit safely 15 times in the game. Wood was 3-for-5. Scere was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Walters was 2-for-3 with a double, an intentional walk and two runs driven in. Carter was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Durasa was 2-for-2. And Thompson was 2-for-2 with a double.

“I know we didn’t face McDowell’s best (pitcher) but they’re still a very good team no matter who they’re throwing out there,” said Crum. “They’re a big school. They’ve got a lot of nice athletes. And this was a nice win, a real good win for our program.”  

Nick Christiansen took the loss on the mound for the Trojans. He yielded nine runs on 11 hits through four and a third innings. He also walked seven and struck out three.

Hayes said Christiansen is the fourth pitcher in his rotation. The Trojans were saving their top arms for today’s doubleheader in Pittsburgh against Upper St. Clair and North Allegheny.

Still, he said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re two, four, six or eight; you’ve still got to get it done. And we didn’t get it done. It’s not an excuse, because I like our No. 4 guy. And they hit the ball really well.

“You’ve got to get the job done. And we didn’t do it.”

Warren and Hansen were the top bats for McDowell. Both were 2-for-4. Hansen scored twice, adding a run in the sixth off an RBI double by Zac Borsa. Warren scored once.

McDowell and Saegertown are scheduled to play again on April 27 at noon at Ainsworth Field in Erie.

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