By Pete Chiodo
French Creek Valley had better pitching than Franklin. It also (barely) out-hit Franklin.
However, it also bettered Franklin in errors, and that proved to be the difference as Franklin downed the Creekers 4-3 in a Crawford/Venango American Legion baseball meeting on Wednesday at Saegertown American Legion’s Ed Acker Field.
“Both teams played well,” said Franklin head coach Brian Schmidt. “Their errors were a little more costly than ours. That’s just the way ball bounces sometimes. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.
“I think they probably played better than we did,” he added. “That’s just the way it worked out.”
FCV committed five defensive miscues on the day. Two of those were recorded in the top of the first inning, which helped Franklin scratch across three runs. The Valley boys then spent the rest of the evening trying to catch up, and never fully did.
“We weren’t very crisp on defense. We were flat,” said FCV head coach Brandon Crum. “The first inning kills us. Things weren’t clicking. (Franklin) put the ball in play. They did what they needed to do. You’ve got to put pressure on the defense and that’s exactly what they did.”
Franklin pitcher Joe Desko was a little wild, walking seven batters in the game. But FCV didn’t get many of those free base runners home, mustering just three hits off Desko through four and two-thirds innings.
The Creek kids had a few hard-hit balls, but they were right at Franklin’s fielders.
“We hit some balls hard,” said Crum. “I’m pretty happy with how we swung it. Just a couple balls needed to get through and that’s a couple more runs there.”
Mitchell Wood was 2-for-4 for FCV. In the first inning, he singled and scored. He also singled and was stranded in the second.
Luke Carter singled in a run in the fifth.
FCV ended up leaving the bases loaded in both the first and fifth innings. The locals stranded 10 base runners for the night.
Nick Emerson finished off the game on the mound for Franklin, pitching the final two and a third innings for the save.
Down 4-2 in the seventh, Ryan Paden led off inning with a triple to left field off of Emerson. Carter brought him home with a ground ball. But that’s as far as FCV’s rally would go.
Jacob Digiacomo ended up the hard-luck loser on the mound for FCV. He allowed just three base his, no walks and struck out 11 batters. None of his runs were earned — not the three in the first, nor the one Franklin scored in the sixth inning on two FCV errors.
“Jake pitched really well,” said Crum. “That first inning bit him in the rear. He was up early, but the rest of the game he was shooting the knees and staying low in the zone.”
The win has Franklin off to a 1-0 start both overall and in the CVAL.
French Creek Valley drops to 1-1 overall and in the league.