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'No energy' in BV Legion's playoff loss

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 2:07 p.m.
Darnell P. Graham | For The Valley Independent
Belle Vernon Legion's Josh Kucmeroski swings and misses at a pitch during his team's 6-4 loss to Carmichaels in the first round of the Fayette American Legion Baseball League playoffs on Monday, July 7, 2014.
Darnell P. Graham | For The Valley Independent
Belle Vernon's Tyler Simsic lines a single into right field during Game 1 of the first round of the Fayette American Legion Baseball League playoffs on Monday, July 7, 2014. Carmichaels won the game 6-4.

Belle Vernon Legion manager Bill Frankel wasn't sure which team was going to show up for Game 1 of a playoff series against Carmichaels.

Frankel has to hope that the team he saw Monday won't be the same one that shows up for Tuesday's Game 2.

Carmichaels took the opener of the three-game series, 6-4, at the John DiVirgilio Complex, and can end Belle Vernon's season with a win in Carmichaels.

“There's no energy ... no hop in our step,” Frankel said after the loss. “It's the playoffs and we have no energy. No one's fired up.”

Carmichaels ace Brandon Lawless threw a complete game four-hitter to pick up the win. He struck out eight, but walked seven.

Belle Vernon had several opportunities against Lawless, leaving nine men on base.

“We hit him. He wasn't overpowering us,” Frankel said of Lawless' performance. “It's been the same thing during the back half of our season ... we just couldn't get that clutch, timely hit.”

Carmichaels scored three runs in the top of the first. Two came in when Jon Dotts lined a double into the right-center field gap to score Tyler Cole and Mike Blasinsky. The next batter was Cory Fuller, who doubled in Dotts.

Belle Vernon was able to answer in the bottom of the second.

Stark walked and later scored on a triple by Dylan Pietrantoni. A walk and stolen base by Josh Kucmeroski set the table for a two-run single by designated hitter Tyler Simsic.

“As bad as the first inning hurt us, we were able to battle back, so that was good to see,” Frankel said.

After the second inning, Belle Vernon didn't muster a hit until Matt Bashioum's leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh.

Carmichaels broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the third when DH Joel Spishock hit into a fielder's choice to score Fuller, who had singled. The lead grew to 5-3 on an RBI single by leadoff man Josh Mundell.

Stark picked up the loss on the mound, throwing five innings and allowing five earned runs. He walked three and struck out three.

Carmichaels scored its final run in the top of the seventh when Lawless walked and came home on an RBI triple by Spishock.

Bashioum scored the final run for Belle Vernon following his leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh when Adam Holliday hit into a fielder's choice.

With the season on the line, Frankel will turn to ace Dylan Pietrantoni at Carmichaels. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

“It's win or go home,” Frankel said. “Dylan will definitely take the mound.”

NOTES: Nolan Stulock pitched the final four innings for Belle Vernon. He gave up two hits and one run. He struck out four. ... Blasinsky was 3 for 5 with three singles. ... Fuller and Lawless both went 2 for 4.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.