By Jim Hunter
The Meadville Tribune
GUYS MILLS —
Cambridge Springs showed early signs of possibly winning its first game of the season as the top three Blue Devil batters reached base to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Blue Devils’ early chattering was soon squashed — by Maplewood right-handed pitcher Joel Robinson.
Relieving starting pitcher Steven Reed after Blue Devils’ No. 3 stick Hunter Cox’s run-scoring double in the first inning, Robinson slammed the door on the Spa with four-hit stuff the remainder of the game. And the Tigers rallied for an 8-3 victory in Region 3 action Tuesday.
Maplewood improved to 2-3 in the league and 3-7 overall, while Cambridge Springs remained winless at 0-7 and 0-12.
When the game started, it looked like the Tigers were going to be the Blue Devils’ first victim.
After Gavin Hohn reached on an error and stole second, Matt Hart drilled a RBI single to left field and Cox followed with the aforementioned run-scoring double to right-center field.
Maplewood coach Bob Finkbeiner had seen enough. Enter Robinson.
“Joel was aware if the game was going south early that we were going to call on him,” said Finkbeiner.
After allowing a miscommunication bloop single to Josh Waid for the Spa’s third run in the first inning, the razor-sharp Robinson threw goose eggs at the Blue Devils the remainder of the game.
The Tigers’ workhorse hurler struck out seven and walked none. He threw 72 pitches, 53 for strikes.
“Joel was very efficient (today) ... as he has been all year,” said Finkbeiner. “I was very impressed with his performance.”
With its ace dealin’ strikes on the mound, Maplewood went to work at the plate.
Henry Coyle — coming off the bench to replace Reed — led off the third inning with a single and advanced to second on an error. After Kyle Nuhfer delivered an RBI single, Nate Klingler coaxed a walk.
Robinson followed with a fielder’s choice grounder. On the play, Nuhfer scored when the Blue Devils committed a throwing error. With one out, Dalton Fosburg put the Tigers ahead 4-3 with a two-run single.
The talented freshman Fosburg delivered again in the fifth inning.
After Robinson led off with a single and Carl Douglas reached on an error, Fosburg smacked his second two-run single of the game. He later scored on Noah Marvin’s single to right field.
“Dalton is really coming around at the plate,” said Finkbeiner.
Leading 7-3, the Tigers added an insurance run in the sixth when Robinson led off with a single and later scored on an error — the Blue Devils’ sixth of the game.
In the seventh, Cambridge Springs had two runners in scoring position as pinch-hitter Kurtis Tucci reached on an error and Hohn followed with a double.
The Blue Devils were chattering again, but a la in the first inning, Robinson quieted them by fanning the next batter for the final out.
Robinson and Fosburg were 2-for-4 and the Spa’s Hunter Cox was 2-for-3.