By Jim Hunter
Back to reality.
Coming off one of its biggest wins in recent years on Friday with a 10-5 victory over previously unbeaten Saegertown, Meadville fell victim to possibly being over confident against Fort LeBoeuf.
Going hitless the last six innings, the Bulldogs dropped a 6-2 decision to the Bison in non-conference action on a chilly Tuesday afternoon at Eldred Glen.
The loss dropped MASH to 2-7 on the season.
Against Saegertown, the ’Dogs jumped on the Panthers with nine runs in the first inning in dealing them their first loss of the season after nine wins.
Needless to say, the Bulldogs were riding high entering their game against Fort LeBoeuf, now 3-3 on the season. Possibly too high.
After scoring two runs in the first inning on four hits, Meadville’s bats went dead as Bison pitcher Josh Greggs got stronger as the game went on. Retiring nine straight batsmen during one stretch, Greggs’ arsenal of pitches handcuffed the struggling ’Dogs.
“He (Greggs) settled in and pitched a great game,” said Meadville coach Bruce Stewart. “He kept us off balance with his assortment of pitches.”
Continuing, the disappointed Stewart got some frustration off his chest. “The kids need to know that they have to show up for every game. We have a target on our backs now after that win over Saegertown. We can’t just go through the motions.
“I know we’re young and we are going to have our ups and downs, but we have the talent to be a good team.”
Case in point: Meadville’s first inning.
After Greggs socked a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, the Bulldogs put the blow behind them as they countered with two runs in the bottom half.
Senior Ted Williams led off with a textbook bunt single and stole second. Freshman Antonion Ferraro followed with a bloop single to put runners on the corners.
Stewart then gave Ferraro the steal sign and the promising freshman stole second. On the play, Williams scored as Fort LeBoeuf made an errant throw.
With two outs, Dominik Pruskowski drove in Ferraro with a line-drive single to right-center field. Zach Grill followed with a double, but on the play, Pruskowski was thrown out at the plate as the Bison executed an 8-4-2 relay throw.
Leading 3-2, Fort LeBoeuf — capitalizing on two Bulldogs’ errors — gave Greggs some breathing room by scoring three unearned runs in the third inning.
“We didn’t make two routine plays and they hurt us,” said Stewart.
After Fort LeBoeuf’s Jake Lombadozzi led off the fourth inning with a sharp single, Stewart went to the bullpen as he replaced starting pitcher Thomas McCloskey with freshman Kirk Mumau.
Just what the doctor ordered.
Popping catcher Grill’s glove, Mumau slammed the door on the Bison as the right-hander only yielded one hit in four innings of work. He struck out two and walked one.
Stewart was impressed.
“Being a freshman, Kirk showed a lot of poise out there,” he said.