By Lisa Byers
July 22, 2013 7:00 a.m. WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP —
Rain showers on Saturday afternoon threw a curve ball at the DuBois Senior League baseball team, leaving the squad and its coaches scurrying to find hotel rooms in the Meadville area for one more night.
But as DuBois has all summer long, it found a way to knock that curve ball out of the park.
Ben Hayes went 3 2/3 solid innings on the mound and finished 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs to lead DuBois to a 14-6 win over Meadville/Mid-East/Titusville on Sunday for the Section 1 Senior League championship at Fairgrounds Fields.
DuBois will now represent Section 1 at the Pennsylvania State Tournament hosted by Cameron County Little League in Emporium. Play begins Wednesday.
The Senior League squad adds to a very productive summer season for DuBois baseball. DuBois won the Section 1 Junior League baseball title on Saturday, topping McLane 13-1 in the title game and is now headed to that state tournament in Cranberry.
The 10 and 11 Year Old baseball team for DuBois won the winner’s bracket in its Section 1 tournament and plays for that title today.
“DuBois is pretty well known for its baseball,” DuBois Senior League manager Rich Petrillo said. “We try to keep the tradition up.”
Despite sitting an extra day, DuBois came into the game needing to be crafty with its use of pitchers. Ace Ryan Anderson, who threw a no-hitter up until the very last pitch he threw in the winner’s bracket final on Thursday, was not eligible to pitch until today.
And though Hayes, who threw the opener against Cranberry/Oil City/A-C Valley on Thursday, became available with the extra day’s rest, he was limited to 60 pitches with the if necessary game looming and the Section 1 tournament beginning on Thursday.
So DuBois’ plan was to start Hayes and build a lead before he reached his 60-pitch limit and then work in some fresh arms to finish the deal. It worked out pretty well.
Hayes had the METS stymied through the first two innings. He retired the first four batters he faced on strikes. Dane Stokes did draw a two-out walk in the second inning, but was picked off at first base to end the inning.
DuBois, meanwhile, was taking care of business on the offensive side of the ball as well. DuBois plated two runs in the first. Taylor Rutherford hit a one-out single followed by back to back walks to Jake Felix and Michael Polohonki to load the bases.
Rutherford scored on a balk and Hayes picked up his first RBI of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly scoring Felix.
DuBois added another run in the second with a bases loaded walk to Felix scoring Jordan Arrington. In the third, Hayes drew a leadoff walk. Pinch runner Nick Mohney came around to score on a misplayed grounder off the bat of Arrington to give DuBois a 4-0 lead. That lead grew to 6-0 in the fourth following an RBI groundout by Hayes and another run-scoring error.
The METS did threaten to cut into that deficit with a two-out rally in the fourth. Noah Marvin singled followed by a walk to Stokes on pitch No. 60 from Hayes. DuBois made a switch bringing in Michael Polohonki for his first action on the mound this season. Polohonki got a ground ball out to end the inning.
But down 7-0 in the bottom half of the fifth inning, the METS started to make some noise.
Logan Dempsey got it started for the METS with a one-out walk. Sheyler Gill singled and Jacob Foltz walked to load the bases. Zack Richards walked to drive in Dempsey and then with two outs Marvin ripped a single to the gap in right-center scoring Gill and Foltz to cut DuBois’ lead to four (7-3).
DuBois did add three more in the sixth and four in the seventh to extend that lead to 11 (14-3), but the METS refused to give up. Gill delivered his third base hit to start the seventh. He stole second and third and scored on an overthrow to third on the stolen base attempt.
One out later, Richards doubled. He scored on a single by Jesse Staudt, who wound up at third following a two-base error on a grounder off the bat of Marvin. Stokes drove in Staudt with a sacrifice fly. Cam Motzing and Khalid Abu Saleh kept the inning going for the METS with back to back walks. The game ended with a fly ball out to center.
“These guys battled right to the end,” METS coach Keith Klingler said. “There’s just no quit in this team. I’m proud of them.”
It was a rather thrilling season for a team put together just two weeks ago. For starters, the team had just 12 players on the initial roster. It played with 11 during the District 1 tournament and then 10 for the first two nights of the Section 1 tournament.
On Friday, METS lost one player to ejection. That player was then ineligible for Sunday’s contest. Third baseman and pitcher Trevor Smith was also injured on Friday and was unavailable Sunday as well. One of the team’s original 12 did return in time for the championship game, but that left METS with just nine players.
“We’re missing three key guys (Sunday),” Klingler said. “That’s huge. I firmly believe if we have our full team, we play with these guys or we beat them. But we gave it a shot, did our best.
“It was a lot of fun. It was a good run.”
Gill was 3-for-4 for METS. Marvin was 2-for-4.
Ty Bittner had two hits for DuBois.