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Carriage Inn snaps Quinn Construction's win streak

| Monday, July 8, 2013, 10:54 p.m.
Quinn Construction's Dom Francia gets caught in a run down between second and third base against the Carriage Inn in Daily News League baseball action Monday, July 7, 2013, at West Mifflin.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Quinn Construction's Dom Francia gets caught in a run down between second and third base against the Carriage Inn in Daily News League baseball action Monday, July 7, 2013, at West Mifflin.

Quinn Construction manager Tom Simcho has faced the daunting task of cobbling together a makeshift starting lineup for the better part of the past two months. Those lineups, surprisingly, resulted in 11 consecutive wins and a spot at the top of the Daily News League standings.

But when Simcho finally had top players such as A.J. Olasz, Terran Senay, Corey Rodgers, Brooks Marzka and Dom Francia penciled into the heart of his lineup against rarely used Carriage Inn pitcher Mike Kochman, the streak came to a halt.

Kochman kept the Mudcats off-balance for five innings, Zak Kozlowski was near perfect during the final two frames, and Carriage Inn got a pair of timely hits from Zac Grayson to upset Quinn Construction, 8-3, at Winklevoss Field.

It was Quinn Construction's first loss since May 30 and dropped the Mudcats percentage points behind Bowser (11-3) — a forfeit winner over Cinello Insurance Agency — for first place.

“You can't win them all,” Simcho said. “Yeah, we had a good lineup here, but we didn't hit the ball like we could, but that's baseball. They deserved to win this game, and we didn't.”

The big five in the middle of Quinn's lineup accounted for six of the Mudcats' eight hits but knocked in only one run, on Francia's second double of the game in the fifth. Other than that, Kochman was in control.

“He hasn't started in two years, and he just came in and threw the ball over the plate and made them hit the ball,” player/manager Grayson said.

Kochman allowed nine hits over five innings. He gave up three runs and struck out two before giving way to Kozlowski, who gave up one hit, struck out three and picked up the save.

“It gets a little dangerous going through the middle of that lineup,” Grayson said. “But he hit his spots and kept them off-balance.”

Leading, 1-0, in the fourth, Carriage Inn extended its lead when Grayson singled in two runs off losing pitcher Zack Salmon to make the score 3-0. The Reds added another run in the fourth.

“He had me off-balance, and I managed to throw the head of the bat out there, and it hit the sweet spot of the bat, and it hit the hole,” Grayson said.

Quinn (13-4) answered in the bottom of the inning with two manufactured runs — Dan Laird had a run-scoring fielder's choice and Kevin Quinn lofted a sacrifice fly — to make the score 4-2. Francia's RBI double in the fifth got the Mudcats within 4-3, which set up a decision by Simcho in the sixth that backfired.

With runners at second and third and two outs, Simcho instructed Francia to intentionally walk Zack Mikolics to load the bases. Francia walked the next batter on a 3-2 count to push a run across.

“It was actually a pretty smart decision because he walked an actual hitter to get to a kid (Kozlowski) who is only a pitcher,” Grayson said.

Simcho defended his decision.

“If we throw strikes, then it's not an issue,” Simcho said.

Quinn Construction fell apart after that making two errors in the seventh that scored two runs and allowed another to cross the plate on a designed rundown.

“This has been a long time coming for us,” Grayson said. “Hopefully, we can sustain this now for the next two weeks.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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