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July 15, 2014

Lake/Linesville keeps Section 1 title hopes alive

WEST MEAD TWP. — The Conneaut Lake/Linesville 9 & 10 Year Old All-Stars watched one lead slip away from them on Monday night during a loss to Franklin.

On Tuesday, they were not going to let it happen again.

Relief pitcher Alex Nottingham got a called strike three with the bases-loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth, ending a back-and-forth battle with LeBoeuf for an 8-7 victory during loser’s bracket action at the Pennsylvania Section 1 Tournament yesterday at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Fields.

“It’s giving me gray hair. This is more stressful than golf by a lot,” said Lake/Linesville head coach Fred Garvey, who is also the boys golf coach at Meadville High School during the fall. “They like to make it interesting.”

With the win, Conneaut Lake/Linesville keeps its section hopes alive. The locals will try to remain in the hunt when they face Franklin today at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds in the loser’s bracket final. The winner will advance to Thursday’s championship game to square off against DuBois, which defeated Franklin 10-5 during Tuesday’s late game.

“We just keep fighting for another day,” said Garvey.

Nottingham’s bases-loaded game-ending strikeout capped a tug-of-war between Conneaut Lake/Linesville and LeBoeuf. The two teams traded big innings throughout the evening.

First it was Lake/Linesville’s turn. In the first frame, Nottingham singled to lead off the inning and then scored on an error. And Owen Garvey reached on an error and scored on a grounder by Brady Walker to make it 2-0 L/L.

Then LeBoeuf took a turn in the second inning. Jamie Miller singled. Adam Jarrett walked. Then Adam Lichtinger singled to center to bring Miller home. Ben Huck hit into a groundout, which scored Jarrett. And Lichtinger eventually made it home on an error to give the Waterford crew a 3-2 lead.

Lake/Linesville then retook the lead with a four-run third inning. Garvey walked and scored on an error. Brady Walker reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch. Ryan Richardson and Cooper Baum both drew walks. Then Mason Mihoci sent both base runners home with a double to the gap in left-center, making it 6-3 L/L.

“Mason Mihoci came up huge hitting the ball,” said coach Garvey.

LeBoeuf got two of those runs back in the fifth. Matt Bennett got aboard on an error. A.J. Roach then belted his second single of the day to put two runners in scoring position. Dan Caldwell’s grounder scored Bennett. And a single by Ethan Wilcox plated Roach.

Now clinging to a 6-5 lead, Lake/Linesville gained some crucial distance from LeBoeuf in the bottom of the fifth. Trent Roncaglione was hit by a pitch. Then Collin Hearn smacked a double to right center to bring him home. And Hearn would score on a wild pitch, providing L/L with what would end up being the game-winning run.

Yet, LeBoeuf put the pressure on in the sixth. A pair of errors put Aldon Brenley and Ryan Daum on base with one out. With two outs, Roach walked to load up the bags. Then Caldwell smacked a single to left. Brenley and Daum scored to make it 8-7. Then Wilcox walked to load the bases once again.

Nottingham then worked the final out on a called third strike to end the game.

“Alex came on in a pressure situation and he performed admirably,” said Garvey.

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