By Lisa Byers
July 25, 2013 7:00 a.m. ALBION —
French Creek Valley’s roller coaster season ended Wednesday night but not before the Creekers took one last wild ride.
FCV and Millcreek went into the day needing two wins to compete for the American Legion Region 8 championship. Little did they know when they met in the second game that a win would technically win them the championship game with Wilcox rumored to have forfeited today’s title game.
Wilcox left Albion and according to The Ridgway Record, which cited Wilcox’s coach and covers the Johnsonburg area team, will not return for today’s game.
Millcreek followed through on its end, topping FCV 12-2 and will make an appearance at 11 a.m today for what is expected to be a forfeit and its ticket to the Pennsylvania American Legion State Tournament.
Unfortunately for FCV, the ride is over.
“It’s bittersweet,” FCV coach Brandon Crum said. “It was a rollercoaster ride the entire way. That’s what we talked about out there (after the game). We’re proud of these guys. We’re proud of those seniors and those guys who have been here four or five years.
“I’m really proud of them. We couldn’t have gotten here without a single one of them from the ninth guy on the field to the one or two in the dugout. They committed themselves and did what they needed to do. It’s sad.”
FCV entered the Region 8 tournament as the Crawford-Venango American Legion runner-up. It dropped its opener to Millcreek 1-0 and then battled its way back with wins over Youngsville and Warren, respectively, to set up a showdown with Fox Township yesterday afternoon to keep its championship hopes alive.
FCV behind a solid pitching performance by Jacob Digiacomo and a red-hot offense knocked off the Elk County runner-up to earn a second chance against Millcreek, which was coming off a 5-2 win over Wilcox.
Millcreek threatened in three of the first four innings against FCV, but started Luke Carter managed to work out of trouble every time. Then in the bottom of the fourth, FCV got itself on the board.
Ryan Paden got things started for FCV with a one-out double. He advanced to third on a passed ball. Brandon Sherman missed the suicide squeeze and Paden, who was more than half way down teh line, was nearly picked. But catcher Brian Bohman’s throw sailed into left field allowing Paden to score.
Sherman eventually drew a walk. Millcreek starter Zack Borsa then walked Drew Durasa forcing Millcreek to make a switch. Chase Gallo and Digiacomo greeted reliever Lucas Bailey with back to back hits the second of which was an RBI single by Digiacomo that gave FCV a 2-0 advantage.
Bailey was nearly untouched from there.
FCV did have chances in the fifth and eighth innings, but stranded a runners at third in both innings.
Millcreek, meanwhile, scored three runs in the sixth and eighth innings and then shut the door with a six-run ninth.
“It’s pretty neat to be technically the runner-up of this tournament with the group we have,” Crum said. “They overachieved. They did a great job.
“At the end, we kind of got exploited, but that’s alright. The game got away quick and then mental focus is what it came down to. We lost the mental focus we had. But that’s baseball.”
Carter also doubled for FCV against Millcreek. He had two hits in each of FCV’s games yesterday.
Cody Ballay had four hits for Millcreek.