Penn-Trafford baseball team vaults into first place
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Penn-Trafford baseball team believed it let an opportunity slip away earlier this season against Hempfield.
Faced with another late Hempfield rally attempt in a rematch last week, the Warriors buckled down.
Pitchers Ross Orgera and Tyler Smith combined to strike out 13 batters over seven innings and stranded four Hempfield baserunners in scoring position during the final four innings of a 2-0 Penn-Trafford victory Friday afternoon.
That win, plus a 6-2 triumph at Connellsville on Monday, allowed the Warriors (10-4, 7-2) to move into a first-place tie with Hempfield with three section games remaining.
“It feels phenomenal,” Smith said. “(Friday was) easily the biggest game we've played all year — easily — and to come out and win like this is just awesome.”
The victories over Hempfield and Connellsville pushed the Warriors' winning streak to eight games, but Orgera's performance might have been the biggest story Friday.
In his return from a separated shoulder, Orgera retired the first nine batters of the game and allowed just one hit in 4 1⁄3 innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“It feels great to be back with the team and just bring everyone together,” Orgera said.
“It felt real good (Friday), and I just kept going with it.”
The return of Orgera (1-0, 3.00 earned-run average), combined with the play of Smith (4-1, 0.92) gives Penn-Trafford two aces as the postseason approaches.
“That is a good 1-2 punch with those two healthy,” coach Ron Evans said. “Hopefully, we can battle right now for the section.”
Penn-Trafford scored the only two runs it would need against Hempfield in the first inning. With Ryan Marasti on third and Mark Merlino at the plate, Evans called for a suicide squeeze. Hempfield's Greg Martin threw a wild pitch, allowing Marasti to score.
Later in the at-bat, Merlino singled to drive in Shane Churma.
“We always believe that a suicide squeeze or a bunt is the easiest thing to do in baseball,” Evans said. “If they throw it over the plate, nine times out of 10 we're going to put it in play and hopefully score a run.”
Unlike a 7-6 loss to Hempfield on April 8, when Penn-Trafford blew a two-run lead in the seventh inning, the Warriors stifled the Spartans' rally on Friday.
Orgera ran into trouble in the fifth inning, when he allowed a double and a walk with one out. Smith entered and struck out the next two batters.
Smith ran into trouble himself in the top of the sixth, walking the first two batters. Stolen bases put runners on second and third, but Smith retired the next three batters — two by strikeouts — to end the threat.
“When I (visited) him on the mound, I said, ‘Tyler, throw the ball as hard as you can down the middle of the plate,'” Evans said. “He (said), ‘No problem, coach.' And he did — he came right back and threw strikes.”
The Warriors were scheduled to host Albert Gallatin in another section matchup Wednesday. The game ended too late for this edition. Penn-Trafford will travel to play fourth-place Latrobe on Thursday afternoon and will end section play with a home game Monday against Norwin.
“We've been playing as a team the past few games, and I think we're starting to get on our run,” Orgera said. “We'll keep going with it.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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.
- Penn State rallies past Akron behind Newbill’s 26 points
- Mo. governor adds guardsmen as protests continue
- Household debt on the rise after 5-year decline
- Ferguson protesters march on Pittsburgh streets
- Protest in Cleveland over 12-year-old’s shooting death chokes off traffic
- Penguins notebook: Bennett status remains fluid
- Daily Courier roundup: Penn State Fayette women fall to Slippery Rock
- Steelers notebook: Defense tasked with stopping Graham
- Ferguson grand jury focused on fatal ‘tussle’
- Bars bulge at the seams night before Thanksgiving
- IUP student dies from injuries after he was pinned beneath car