West Mifflin outlasts Penn-Trafford in battle of walks
TribLIVE Sports Videos
In the scorebook, it goes down as a 13-9 West Mifflin win over Penn-Trafford.
Now, if you want to know any of the specifics involved in the first game at the Titans' multi-million-dollar all-turf baseball complex, don't bother asking veteran coach Jeff Kuzma because he's already erased those from his memory.
And for good reason.
A three-plus hour game with a combined 27 walks from nine pitchers on a 35-degree day with gusting winds would make anyone want to forget the details immediately.
“We basically won the battle of the cold-weather game, and that's the only way you can look at it and the only way I will look at it,” Kuzma said. “All we did was win a cold and sloppy game.”
Fresh off winning three of four games during a week in Florida, West Mifflin made uncharacteristic baserunning gaffes, fielding blunders and struggled hitting while pitchers A.J. Olasz and Joe Stavor combined to walk 10 batters.
Still, that was nothing compared to Penn-Trafford's 17 walks by seven pitchers. In the fourth, three Penn-Trafford pitchers walked seven consecutive batters with two outs to push across four runs.
“It was ugly,” Penn-Trafford coach Ron Evans said. “We have a dirt mound out there, we aren't allowed to wear spikes and all my kids have tennis shoes on. Every pitcher of ours was slipping, slipping, slipping.”
Stavor picked up the win for West Mifflin (4-1) by throwing the final 2 2⁄3 innings, allowing four hits and four runs while walking five. Olasz pitched a solid 4 1⁄3 before getting in trouble in the fifth. Olasz allowed four earned runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking five.
The Titans got two hits and two RBI from Zach Fodor and two RBI from Ryan Kandsberger and Jim Carassanesi.
Penn-Trafford (0-1) was paced by Jake Morain's two singles, triple and three runs scored and Luke Smeltz's double and two RBI.
“We hit the ball, made some good plays and did some good things, but at the same time we didn't pitch the way we wanted to, and you would have to think the weather also had something to do with that,” Evans said.
Evans used Ross Orgera, Zak Wright, Dom Coconcelli, Danny Owoc, Shane Malloy, Brenden Reddy and Tyler Smith.
“We wanted to use some pitchers, but I wasn't planning on using all seven of them,” Evans said.
Control issues changed that.
With Penn-Trafford leading, 3-2, in the fourth, West Mifflin put six runs on the board with only one hit. Seven consecutive two-out walks plated four runs, and Carassanesi followed with a two-run single to make it 8-3.
“When you get into a situation when the pitchers are throwing strikes, all you can tell your hitters is to be patient and work the count,” Kuzma said. “All it was today was waiting for a strike to be thrown and put a bat on it.”
P-T tied it up in the fifth with five runs on three hits. West Mifflin helped the cause with an error and a misplayed popup. The Warriors took the lead the next inning on a bases-loaded walk by Scott Koscho.
“We did some good things,” Evans said.
And some bad things — like in the bottom of the sixth when his pitchers yielded five walks, including the eventual game-winning free pass to Fodor with the bases loaded.
“We won the battle of the walks,” Kuzma said. “There's not much more you can say about it other than that. This won't affect us. I think we can get past this. It was just tough to be out there throwing in the cold.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Knoch wins 1st WPIAL title by beating defending champ West Allegheny
- Knoch senior ejected from WPIAL title game for wild slide
- Central Catholic knocks off Norwin to win 1st WPIAL baseball title
- High school roundup: Montour edges CV in 9th to earn PIAA berth
- Juniata Valley holds off Blairsville for District 6 baseball title
- Greensburg Central Catholic downs defending champs California to win title
- Errors costly for Trojans in WPIAL title game
- Gorman: Central’s DeRenzo catches a shutout
- Knoch’s Bradley uses lessons learned to lead baseball team
- A-K Valley baseball championship capsule
- Seton-La Salle baseball’s outlook good for next season