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Southmoreland's rally falls short against Shady Side Academy

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 11:51 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Southmoreland's Brian Shaffer delivers a pitch in the second inning against Shady Side Academy on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

The Southmoreland baseball team is trying to make its mark as the newcomers in Section 4-AA this season. But so far, the going has been a little rough for the Scotties as they dropped their third section game of the season, a 7-5 setback to visiting Shady Side Academy on Wednesday.

The Scotties (3-5, 1-3) trailed, 6-2, but fought back and had the tying run on base in the seventh inning. But the Southmoreland rally fell just short as the Indians (6-1, 3-0) held on for the win.

“We played with one of the top teams in Class AA,” Southmoreland coach Brian Shipley said. “We played right with them, and we are capable of playing that way. You never want to lose, but this could give us a big boost of confidence.”

The Scotties were fighting from behind for virtually the entire game. In the second inning, the Indians took a 2-0 lead as starting pitcher Coleman Strohm helped himself with a two-run single off Southmoreland starter Brian Shaffer. The lead bumped up to 3-0 in the third when Paul McCullough doubled and scored on a Southmoreland throwing error.

“We had some errors at the wrong times and fundamentally on defense, we have to know what we are doing,” Shipley said.

The Scotties climbed back in the game in the third with two runs. Shaffer lifted a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Wisniewski followed with an RBI single.

Shady Side Academy responded with three runs in the fourth. Brian Hannon drove in two with a single before Chris Sawicki doubled in a run off reliever Justin Kubicek to make it 6-2.

Southmoreland got a run back in the fourth when Chas King singled and scored on a double by Zac Ripple. The Scotties threatened to inch closer, but reliever Evan Eisner got a groundout and a flyout to end the threat. He then followed up with a scoreless fifth inning.

“Our starting pitcher is usually one of our aces, but he didn't have his best stuff,” Shady Side Academy coach Bob Grandizio said. “But Eisner finished that (fourth) inning, and that was key for us.”

In the sixth, pinch hitter Michael Baird singled in a run for Southmoreland, but Sawicki answered with a solo homer in the seventh for the Indians.

Southmoreland got a run in the seventh on an error and had the bases loaded, but Andrew Scherbarth notched three strikeouts in the final frame to earn the save and preserve the win for Strohm. Shaffer was tagged with the loss.

Although his team was the victor, Grandizio was clearly impressed with Southmoreland.

“Southmoreland is a new team to our section, and they kept battling,” Grandizio said. “They forced us to win the game. They didn't hand it to us.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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