Wounded BVA outlasts Ringgold, 12-11
A game that started out so promising for Belle Vernon Area had turned into a real nightmare.
Playing at Ringgold in a Section 3 AAA opener, the Leps jumped out to an 7-2 lead over the Rams.
However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, a horrific collision between BVA second baseman Parker Lynn and right fielder Dylan Pietrantoni sent both players to the hospital.
The Rams came back to tie the score at 8-8, but BVA scored four times in the top of the seventh to grab a 12-8 lead.
Ringgold battled back again and closed to 12-11 on a massive three-run home run by Travis Yost.
And the Rams had runners on first and second with one out.
Enter Tyler Frankel.
The third pitcher of the day for the Leps struck out both hitters he faced and preserved a narrow 12-11 win.
“I didn't want to have to use Tyler, but he's always ready for me,” said a relieved, but concerned BVA coach Dan Palm. “Dylan was supposed to be the closer today, but you saw what happened. I really don't know at this point how either player is, but thankfully Tyler was able to shut the door.”
The win for BVA (4-2, 1-0) capped a dramatic, exciting game as both teams took turns firing shots an one another.
For Ringgold (2-2, 0-2), the loss was a tough pill to swallow for first-year coach Mike Sikorski.
“That was just a heartbreaking loss for us,” said Sikorski. “I definitely think we deserved a better fate, for sure. But mistakes just killed us.”
Palm refused to use the injury to his players as an excuse for Ringgold coming back.
“I don't think it's so much that my kids were shook up as it was that Ringgold just kept coming,” Palm said. “They never quit and they just kept coming. That's a nice team that (Sikorski) has over there.”
The Leps scored five runs in the top of the second as Lynn lined a two-run single to center and Matt Bashioum followed with a two-run single down the left field line.
Trailing 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Ringgold's Justin Rich hit a looping fly to shallow right-center and as Lynn was just catching the ball in his glove, he and Pietrotoni collided with a sickening thud.
The ball dropped in and Rich was at second base, but both players lay on the field several minutes. Lynn left with a large gash below his right eye brow and Pietrotoni told coaches he had no memory of the collision.
Matt Vamos then singled to center to score Rich to make it 7-3.
Trailing 8-3 in the bottom of the fifth, the hosts took advantage of a couple costly BVA errors and scored five times to tie the game.
Connor Maciejewski and Rich each stroked two-run singles and Yost tied the score with an RBI single to center.
In the seventh, BVA went back on top as Adam Holliday singled home one run, Frankel delivered a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch and then Jake Hartman smacked an RBI single.
That set the stage for Ringgold's final comeback effort as Yost, who had five RBI on the day, lifted his one-out, three-run blast off reliever Adam Ferita over the right field fence.
After Ferita gave up a single to Matt Vamos and a walk to Alec Varley, Palm called for Frankel with the tying run on second.
The senior responded with the two strikeouts to preserve the win.
“There are no easy wins in this section,” Palm said.
“We know we have some talent on this team, we just have to stay positive,” Sikorski said. “We need to cut down on our mistakes. There is no doubt we can play better. We just have to learn how to win.”
GAME NOTES: Ringgold's Rich, playing center field, made three outstanding diving catches ... BVA made six errors and Ringgold committed four ... Frankel, Niko Tasser and Matt Callaway had two hits each for BVA while Yost, Rich and Connor Maciejewski had two each for Ringgold.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.