Southmoreland looks to future as playoff hopes end
This baseball season has not gone the way Southmoreland had hoped.
On Friday, the Scotties saw their slim playoff hopes officially dashed thanks to an 11-3 Section 4-AA loss to visiting Steel Valley, and Southmoreland coach Brian Shipley made it clear that it's time to start looking to the future.
“We haven't been able to make the routine plays,” Shipley said. “We're out of the playoffs, so we have to look to next year.”
Shipley and his coaching staff got a glimpse of the future as many underclassmen saw significant playing time after Steel Valley built a 9-0 advantage.
“Our upperclassmen are making mistakes, and you can't have that from your leaders,” Shipley said. “That's been the story for several weeks now. The lineup we have hasn't executed. At some point, you have to make a change.”
Southmoreland started off well enough as pitcher Brennan Bunner tossed two scoreless innings to begin the game.
But in the third, an error and a few well-placed bloop singles to the outfield allowed Steel Valley to take a 5-0 lead.
Bryce Varhola, Brandon Donovan, Derek Morrison, Mike Hoesch and Patrick Jobes each had an RBI single in the third for the Ironmen (6-4, 6-2).
“We strung together a few hits, and the next thing you know, it's 5-0,” Steel Valley coach Tim Vickers said.The win was important for Steel Valley as it looks to secure one of the top three playoff spots in the section.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs, but it's just one game at a time for us,” Vickers said.
“If you start looking too far ahead, you can get in a bad position.”
The Scotties (5-9, 2-7) found themselves in a bad position as Andrew Chuba and Sean McShane each delivered an RBI single in the fifth to give Steel Valley a 9-0 lead.
Steel Valley pitchers Jesse Cantley and Ryan Wissinger combined to throw five scoreless innings, with Cantley getting the win.
Southmoreland finally broke through in the sixth when Devin Herr and Michael Baird each singled and scored on a double by Zac Ripple. Ripple scored on an error to close the gap to 9-3.
“I saw some heart and desire from the underclassmen,” Shipley said. “I saw them having fun, and that's the way you have to play.”
Matt Hoesch closed the scoring with a two-run single in the seventh for Steel Valley.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.