Four Mercer County teams were in action in the District 10 baseball semifinals Thursday. Game scores were:
Class 2A: Rocky Grove beat Mercer, 6-3; Union City defeated Reynolds, 3-1.
Class 3A: Greenville beat Franklin, 7-6; Mercyhurst Prep edged Sharpsville, 2-0.
Two local teams were in action Friday in the Class 4A semis at Slippery Rock University. Grove City faced Harbor Creek, while Hickory was slated to play Meadville. Games were completed too late for publication in today’s Allied News.
Following are details of recent games involving Allied News area teams:
• Rocky Grove 6, Mercer 3 – At Slippery Rock University, Scott Perry pitched a 4-hitter through 6 innings and Tyler Knupp closed it out as the defending District 10 champion Orioles (12-3) ousted the Mustangs (11-9) on Thursday.
Perry fanned 7 batters, walked 3 and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits while Knupp gave up 1 run on 3 hits in the 7th. He had no strikeouts and no walks.
The Orioles scored 3 runs in the 1st inning, 2 in the 4th and tacked on another run in the 5th. Mercer plated 1 in the 4th and 1 in both the 6th and 7th innings. The Mustangs had 7 hits and RG had 9. Both teams committed 1 error.
Dan Scheidhauer (3 2/3 innings) and Adam Walker split time on the mound for the Mustangs. Scheidhauer struck out 5, issued 1 walk and gave up 5 runs on 8 hits. Walker whiffed 2, walked 4 and surrendered 1 run on 1 hit.
Offensively for RG, Knupp had an RBI double, Travis Perry ripped an RBI triple, Conner Curran homered and singled and Hunter Bruner and Tyler Clayton both added RBI singles.
Jordon Baker and Walker had 2 singles each for Mercer, Dylan Hetrick, Scheidhauer and Ty Porterfield all singled and Austin Hesselgesser and Harrison Murray were both credited with an RBI.
Mercer beat Maplewood (11-1) in the D-10 quarterfinals while Region 1 co-champ Rocky Grove (shared the title with Wilmington) ousted Cochranton (3-0).
• Grove City 6, Fort LeBoeuf 2 — Playoff baseball is a whole different beast.
Gone are the blowouts against inferior opponents. Gone are relatively easy wins and in their place are tight, hard-fought victories.
Wednesday evening was no different for the Grove City baseball team, who escaped with a 6-2 win over Fort LeBoeuf in the District 10 Class 4A quarterfinals at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
“In postseason games, your margin for error gets smaller and smaller,” GC coach Billy Herman said. “We were fortunate enough to put one on the board in the first and put some pressure on them.”
The difference between victory and potentially extra innings — or a season-ending loss — came in the bottom of the fourth inning and the top of the fifth.
In both instances, Grove City walked away the victor.
Tied 2-2 entering the pivotal fourth, the Eagles plated 4 runs on 4 hits with Julian Breese coming up with a clutch 2-out, 2-run single to take a 6-2 lead. Ben McKnight and Lance Craig also had RBIs in the inning.
“We needed some momentum, because we realized this was a one-and-done game,” junior Carter Chinn said. “We needed to find it and once we found it, we used it to keep us going in that inning and later in the game.”
The Bison (10-10) made things interesting in the top of the fifth, loading the base with two outs but senior lefty Logan Minch slammed the door shut with a strikeout.
“I was just trying to give that kid my best stuff,” Minch said. “He’s gotta be mine. I think I got him 0-2 and I started talking to myself. I knew once I got there that I had to go get him.”
Minch’s strikeout was the tipping point in the game.
“I looked at one of my assistants and said ‘This is the biggest spot in the game right here,’” Herman said. “If that goes differently there for us, it’s a different ballgame.”
Minch took care of the rest, sitting down 9 batters and limiting Fort LeBoeuf to just 4 hits over 5 innings of work. Chinn didn’t allow a hit and closed the door on the Bison over the final 2 innings.
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Minch said. “They’re a good team and they gave me a good fight. I knew if I could keep throwing strikes that my guys would eventually come around and start hitting the ball. They were able to yak it around. I have a ton of confidence in my guys. This team just give me energy. I don’t know how else to describe it.”
Chinn energized the Grove City offense early with a one-out triple to right field and scored on Minch’s sacrifice fly. Chinn knotted the game at 2-all in the third when he walked and scored on Minch’s single 2 batters later.
“I was trying to not do too much, especially with 2 strikes,” said Chinn, who walked and scored 3 times Wednesday. “Honestly, I was just trying to find anyway I could to get on base being the second batter. I just have to do my job on the mound — trust my defense and throw strikes. Our defense plays good defense behind us and you just have to trust in them. With a good defense behind you — like I did — it’s easy, because there’s not a whole lot to worry about.”
Notes: Craig and Breese led the Grove City offense with a pair of singles, while Minch and Tanner McCreadie each singled as part of the Eagles’ 8-hit parade. … The Eagles ended the Bison’s season in football, basketball and baseball seasons during the 2017-18 academic season.
• Hickory 8, Slippery Rock 0 — Hickory felt as though they owed Slippery Rock one.
After 5 straight losses to the Rockets over the past 2 years, the Hornets took out all their frustrations in an 8-0 win over Slippery Rock in the District 10 Class 4A quarterfinals at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
Slippery Rock pitchers Ricky Mineo and Dylan Dingel struggled to find the strike zone for most of the afternoon, yielding 11 walks and the Rockets’ defense wasn’t much better behind them with 5 errors.
“You can’t do stuff like that in baseball against a quality team,” Slippery Rock coach Fred Pryor said. “This was his stage. It’s hard call Ricky Mineo if you’ve never seen him before, because he has seven different pitches. I’m not blaming anything on the umpires, but it’s difficult to call his pitches with all the movement on them — every pitch moves.”
The Hornets managed just 1 hit off the lanky righty starter but still plated 4 runs in the third inning without a hit. Hickory broke the game open with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Rockets (9-8) had their opportunities early, stranding 3 baserunners in scoring position in the first two innings.
“Timely hitting has been our biggest downfall all year,” Pryor said. “We’ve stranded more base runners this year than any other year I can remember being involved in baseball.”
Outside of that, Hickory starter Nathan Hando had little issue dispatching the Rockets. Hando scattered 4 hits over 6 innings of work, striking out 6 and walking a pair before being lifted for Jorge Leedham.
With the loss, SR loses Cole Bell, Dylan Dingel, Mineo, Noah Smithbauer, Derek Van Dyke and Chase Wilkerson to graduation.
“This group of seniors truly mean the world to me,” Pryor said. “They were along for the ride last year. It’s tough to lose them. Our job as high school coaches is to help mold them into productive members of society and help get them ready for life whether it’s as a ditch digger an engineer or a doctor. No one was going to out-work them.”
Notes: For the game, the Hornets finished with just 5 hits off Mineo and Dingel. … Mineo paced the Slippery Rock offense with a single and a double, while David Duffalo and Ryan Davis had the only other hits.