By Pete Chiodo
June 15, 2013 7:00 a.m. —
Zach Guth’s two-hit, complete-game shutout trumped the Meadville pitching staff’s six-hit performance as Franklin edged the Marauders 1-0 in a well-played Crawford/Venango American Legion baseball game held Friday at Eldred Glen.
“Zach threw very well,” said Franklin head coach Brian Schmidt. “Most everything he threw was a strike. He just didn’t get behind guys. He only threw about 85 pitches, or something like that. He was efficient.”
Guth, a popping southpaw, walked two and struck out 10.
“He pitched a great game, absolutely a great game,” said Meadville head coach Jason Bustamente. “They made the plays and got the breaks. We didn’t get the breaks. That was the difference of the game.”
The win was Franklin’s second one-run victory this week. On Wednesday it dispatched French Creek Valley 4-3.
“It seems to be, with these wood bats, that’s the way the games are going to turn out — low-scoring, small ball,” said Schmidt.
Franklin, however, managed to sneak one in.
In the top of the third inning, Alex Huff hit into an error to reach base. Joe Desko’s sacrifice bunt moved Huff to second. And Nate Cardy — who was 2-for-3 on the day — launched a double in the gap in left-center to bring home the run.
“We got a good, timely hit when we needed it,” said Schmidt. “And that was about it.”
That was indeed it.
Other than that run, Meadville’s Zach Darling and Trevor Smith combined to keep Franklin’s offense in check.
Darling allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three during the first five innings. Smith went hitless and fanned a pair over the last two frames.
Meadville’s offense had a few opportunities to tie the game. The Marauders’ best shot was in the fourth inning. Duncan Brode drew a walk with one out. And a grounder by Smith moved Brode to second.
Trevor Miller then ripped a single into center field.
Brode was sent around third. But Franklin center fielder Nick Emerson threw a rope to the catcher, Cardy, nabbing Brode at the plate for the final out of the inning.
“That was the play of the game right there,” said Schmidt. “I think they thought that run was going to score easily. But (Emerson) is a special kid. I’m going to miss him next year. He’s a senior.”
According to Bustamante, “We took a shot on that and sent the runner in. That was a great play. That kid’s got a great arm. It was right where it needed to be.”
In the fifth inning, Corey Stainbrook drew a lead-off walk and made it to third on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Foister and a wild pitch. However, Guth caught the next two batters staring at third strikes to get out of the inning.
Guth then worked a 1-2-3 inning in both the sixth and seventh to end the game.
“Credit to them,” said Bustamante. “It was a well-played game.”
With the win, Franklin gets off to a 2-0 start to the summer season, both overall and in the CVAL.
Meadville drops to 1-2 overall and in the league.