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April 23, 2013

H.S. BASEBALL: Panthers too much for Cochranton

April 23, 2013 7:00 a.m. SAEGERTOWN — It wasn’t a typical game for the Saegertown baseball team, but the Panthers still managed to come away with a 9-1 win over Cochranton on Monday in Region 3 play at Ed Acker Field.

The Panthers recorded only two extra base hits — both hustle doubles by Mitchell Wood and Matt Thompson — and manufactured three runs on sacrifice flies.

“It took us a little while to get going,” Saegertown head coach Tim Crum said. “That (Ryan) Northcott kid throws pretty well. He is the best we have faced in region play by far. It’s good for these kids to have a quality pitcher on the mound and get put in different situations and to keep them working.”

Northcott breezed through the top half of the Panthers’ lineup in the first inning, but it was the bottom half that gave him trouble throughout the game.

Saegertown (7-2, 4-0 Region 3) cracked the scoreboard first with two runs in the second.

Luke Carter — Northcott’s mound opponent — got the inning started with a line drive single to left field. Kyle Wise later roped a single to put runners on first and second. Matt Thompson advanced the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. And with two outs, No. 9 batter Scott Sada delivered a two-RBI single just out of the reach of A.J. Nageotte at shortstop to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

“It’s big, scoring runs with two outs,” Crum said. “It’s great for the offensive side and a pain for the defensive. Scottie had a clutch hit to drive in two runs. That was big. It is nice to see the bottom of the lineup produce.”

The Panthers weren’t the only team on the field that had clutch hits in their repertoire. In the top of the third, the Cardinals (3-3, 2-1) got one back with a two-out base knock of their own.

With runners on first and second, Northcott helped his own cause with a single up the middle to score Josh Wagner. Jesse Staudt followed with a single to load the bases, but Carter escaped with no more damage.

The Cardinals threatened to score again in the fourth. Cody Nageotte wound up on second on third base after an error and a passed ball.

In an attempt to bring Nageotte home, Wagner dropped down a sac bunt. Carter fielded the ball in front of the mound and fired to first for the out. Nageotte tried to score but Luke Basko’s throw to Tyler Walters at the beat Nageotte home.

“He hesitated and I’m aggressive,” Cochranton head coach John Svirbly said. “The pitcher turned and didn’t even think about him. (Nageotte) was two-thirds of the way there and I said ‘go!’ and he hesitated just a second. That doesn’t change the complexity of the game but it puts more runs on the board for us. You never know what happens after that.”

What did happen was not favorable for Cochranton. In the bottom half of the inning, Saegertown split the game open with three runs.

Thompson hit a RBI double to left field that scored Kyle Wise. The Panthers followed that up with two more RBI hits with two outs.

Steve Sada got his first hit of the game, ripping a single to left center to score Thompson.

Wood followed that up with a RBI double to left center to score Sada for a 5-1 lead.

Saegertown tacked on a run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly by Durasa and followed with three more runs in the sixth.

“It’s always big to win the region games,” Crum said. “Those are the games that set the tone going into the playoffs. We have been through the cycle now with all the region teams and I feel that these guys would be the strongest out of all of them. It’s a good win for us. I was glad to see our bats come alive at the end and manufacture some runs.”

Carter was stellar on the mound, pitching a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out 10.

“I just kept the ball down and was trying to hit my spots,” Carter said. “I had a couple spots here and there where I didn’t get the call but my stuff was on today. It was pretty fun.”

Wood, Walters, Wise and Scott Sada had two hits apiece in the game. Sada and Wood led the team with two RBIs each.

Northcott — who went 2-for-3 with an RBI — was the losing pitcher. He went six innings and gave up nine runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and struck out one.

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