Big innings helps Freeport baseball team outlast Ford City
After his team gave up five runs in the first inning, Freeport coach Chris Graczyk urged on his players by saying: “We need an inning.”
There's no way Graczyk could have predicted the inning he got in response.
Freeport sent 15 players to the plate, and 11 scored in the top of the second as the Yellowjackets took control of the game and sole possession of second place in Section 3-AA with a 14-12 win at Ford City.
Levi Negley, Matt Swartz and Dustin Koedel each had two-run hits in the second for Freeport (7-2, 5-2), and Ethan McCormick, Robbie Miller and Luke Mariotti each drove in a run during an inning extended by four Ford City errors.
“I was kind of hoping to get one or two runs to chip away at the lead, but our guys responded with 11,” Graczyk said. “If you're going to respond, that's the way to do it. They made a statement there.”
While Freeport did its part with seven hits in the inning, Ford City (4-4, 4-3) couldn't help starting pitcher Brandon Dineley. He allowed 11 runs in 1 2⁄3 innings, but six of them were unearned after miscues by the Sabers' defense.
“Our defense was the whole story,” Ford City coach Dennis Montgomery said. “If you'd have told me we were going to get 12 runs, I definitely thought we could have held them to less than that.
“We gave them seven outs in an inning. After missing a routine double-play ball, they scored 10 runs. We could've come off the field winning, 5-1, instead we're losing, 11-5, after missing three fly balls. We gave it away.”
The game was a stark contrast from the teams' first meeting, a 2-1 win by Ford City on April 4.
Ford City worked its way back into the game after a three-run third inning and a two-run single from Dave Lattanzio that cut the lead to 12-10 in the sixth.
Freeport added two runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Negley and an RBI walk drawn by Josh Beale, and it would need both when Ford City loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half.
Dineley singled with one out to drive in a run, and Ashton McGinnis grounded into a fielder's choice at second to bring home a second run. Freeport relief pitcher Miller then walked Noah Nulph before striking out Aaron Shaner to end the game.
Miller recorded the final two outs for the save, and Mariotti pitched four innings in relief of McCormick to earn the win for Freeport.
“We lost a little focus through the middle innings,” Graczyk said. “Give (Ford City) credit. They got a run here and a run there, and we didn't take advantage of our guys on base.
“We needed to get a split with them, as far as the standings go, and we got it. A win is a win at this point of the season.”