Frazier baseball hopes history repeats itself against No. 4 Carmichaels
During the regular season, the Frazier baseball team was a unit capable of playing at the level of its competition. The Commodores suffered some tough losses against teams with losing records, but also showed the ability to beat quality teams as they managed to garner a spot in the WPIAL Class A playoffs by finishing tied for third with Monessen in Section 2-A.
One of Frazier's best wins of the season was a 9-7 nonsection triumph over Carmichaels in April, and the two teams will meet again in the first round of the postseason at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Mt. Pleasant High School.
“They are a pretty solid ball club and they do a lot of things well,” Frazier coach Craig Kordich said of the Mikes. “You don't get to be a fourth seeded by slacking.”
Carmichaels (12-3), the Section 1-A champion, has its sights set on a title this season, but coach Scott VanSickle noted his team still remembers the early-season loss to the Commodores.
“The fact that they beat us early in the season gives us extra motivation,” VanSickle said. “We're pretty excited.”
While Frazier's win over Carmichaels will provide the Mikes with motivation, it should also provide the Commodores with confidence. Frazier (7-11) knows it can play with and beat one of the top seeds in the tournament. In fact, Frazier has beaten Carmichaels in each of the past three regular seasons.
“It can go two ways,” Kordich said. “Just because we beat them earlier doesn't really mean anything. But we know that we have played well against them.”
Playing well is something the Commodores have struggled to do recently, losing four of their final five games to conclude the regular season. But Kordich doesn't expect his team to simply roll over for the favored Mikes.
“(Thursday) we practiced and I told them not to be satisfied just getting to the playoffs,” Kordich said. “We don't want it to be our last game. We want to play a couple more games.”
Frazier will need big efforts throughout the lineup in order to beat the Mikes again. Jaime Fell has been the staff ace while Blake Herron and Jared Rebovich are hitting above .400. Fell, Herron and Rebovich head up a senior group that helped the Commodores return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
“We just don't want to be satisfied being one of the top 16 teams,” Kordich said. “When you play a good team, you have to limit your mistakes. If we play at the level of our competition, it will be a battle. We're ready for a battle.”
The Mikes, winners of four of their past five games, will also be ready. Carmichaels features a strong battery in pitcher Brandon Lawless and catcher Mike Blasinsky. Lawless has compiled a 6-1 record with 59 strikeouts this season while Blasinsky is hitting better than .600. Outfielders Josh Mundell and Tom Shoaf are also quality hitters.
“We're hitting the ball well and hopefully that continues,” VanSickle said. “We're ready to go.”
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.