Meadville Tribune

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June 17, 2014

Bluebirds rebound with win over FCV

COCHRANTON — The Cochranton American Legion baseball team suffered its first loss of the summer this past Thursday, falling 2-0 to Franklin.

Come Tuesday, it was time to see how the Big Blue would respond.

Pretty well, it turns out.

Cochranton took down Crawford County rival French Creek Valley for the second time this season, downing the Creekers 5-3 yesterday at Cochranton High School.

“Good baseball game,” said Cochranton skipper Chuck Yarnell. “I’m proud of the boys.”

With the win, Cochranton improves to 6-1 on the season and 4-1 in the Crawford-Venango American Legion league.

FCV, still looking for a clutch performance out of its offense, falls to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the CVAL.

“We’ve got to get tougher,” said French Creek coach Brandon Crum. “We’ve got to get a heck of a lot tougher. It’s about grinding it out. Right now we’re not getting enough guys to grind at-bats out.

“Sometimes you won’t get your pitch in an entire at-bat. But you’ve got to grind it out and find your way to first base and get the next guy up. When that happens you score runs. Right now we’re not as focused as we need to be in the box. But we’ll get there.”

Nate Klingler pitched for the win for Cochranton. Through six innings, he allowed three runs (just one earned) on six hits while walking four and fanning two.

“Nate battled the whole game,” said Yarnell. “He struggled a little bit in the late innings with his control. But he kept us in it.”

Ryan Northcott pitched the seventh. He allowed a lead-off  single to Scott Sada, and later walked a runner to put the tying runs on board, but ended up securing the save with three strikeouts.

“Ryan came in, gave up a hit, and then shut them down,” said Yarnell.

Meanwhile on offense, Cochran-ton took the lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Jake Yarnell drew a walk with one out and later scored on a line-drive single up the middle by Caleb Peterson.

The Bluebirds then erupted for a four-spot in the third. Yarnell was hit by a pitch. A.J. Nageotte walked. Then Peterson hit his second single of the day to load the bases.

That brought up Northcott, who smacked a single into left field allowing both Yarnell and Nageotte to score.

Another walk loaded the bases again. And then Tyler Freyermuth drew yet another walk to force in Peterson.

“Walks kill you,” said Crum. “We gave them too many free passes.”

Northcott later put Cochranton’s final run on the board, timing a pitch from reliever Kyle Nuhfer perfectly to steal home plate before the batter, Cody Nageotte, could lay down his sacrifice bunt.

Northcott got the run. And Nageotte was credited for the sacrifice for moving the remaining runners over.

FCV finally responded in the fourth. Taylor Williams reached on an error. Then Matt Thompson brought him in with a double to deep right.

The Creek squad added two more runs in the sixth. Drew Durasa led off the inning with a walk. Then Williams hit an infield single to short, making him 2-for-4 on the day.

Thompson then punched a single up the middle to score Durasa. Thompson was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. And Williams later scored on an error.

FCV out-hit Cochranton 7-5. And Cochranton committed four errors while FCV didn’t have any. But the Creekers couldn’t come up with enough clutch hits to bring their baserunners home. They stranded nine, including the bases loaded in the second.

“We need to score more,” said Crum. “We need to be better offensively.”

Cochranton, meanwhile, stranded eight runners.

“We had some key hits in the beginning,” said Yarnell. “We couldn’t get the key hits late to extend it out and be more comfortable. But we did enough to win it.”

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