Mt. Lebanon's late run forges Legion tie with West Mifflin
West Mifflin found out the hard way that there really is tying in baseball.
Mt. Lebanon executed a double steal with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and Ted English scored the final run of the game in a 3-3 tie with the West Mifflin American Legion baseball team at Wildcat Field. English stole home when Brian Isler got into a rundown between first and second.
Isler was tagged out after the run scored to end the inning, and the home plate umpire immediately stopped the game because, in his estimation, it was getting too dark to begin a new inning.
“That was a disgusting display of baseball,” West Mifflin coach Tom Simcho said. “They looked like a JV team out there. We were missing four starters, and I didn't think it would matter, but it's showing.”
With Mt. Lebanon (6-5-1) trailing, 3-2, English singled off reliever Everett Lesko and went to third with two outs. He was running on a full-count offering to Isler, who singled to left. On the first pitch, Isler started jogging to second, and catcher Ryan Kandsberger threw to second in an attempt to end the inning.
Isler stopped and got into a rundown, and West Mifflin (10-1-1) never reacted to English edging toward home. West Mifflin got the out, but English crossed the plate before the out was recorded to tie the game.
For Mt. Lebanon, the tying run was the culmination of four frustrating innings. After chipping away at West Mifflin's 3-0 lead with two runs in the third, the team stranded a runner at third in each of the next three innings, including a tough-to-swallow sixth in which it had runners at second and third with none out and failed to score.
“We were due,” Mt. Lebanon coach Larry Neish said. “We stranded nine runners, and we could have been more aggressive … but this wasn't about winning. We wanted to be competitive, and we just wanted to get ready and play ball.”
West Mifflin stranded five runners, but its offense was shut down by pitchers Billy Manning and Josh Darabant, who combined to retire the final 12 batters they faced after Cody Gross led off the fourth with a walk. Leadoff hitter Chuck Scales helped stake the team to its early three-run lead with a two-run single in the second.
“The bottom half of our order are not hitting, and they look like JV players,” Simcho said. “Against that pitching, that's unacceptable. Not having a hit in the last four innings, unacceptable. We can't get a bunt down, not knowing how to hit with a guy stealing … it's little things that we're not doing.”
Both teams have qualified for the Allegheny South playoffs.
West Mifflin came into the year with its sights set high. The team was in the Region 6 finals in 2012 and has the goal of qualifying for the state tournament.
“They want to make states? They might not make it out of their own district if we play like this,” Simcho said. “It was disgusting. I'm ashamed.”