Big inning leads Carmichaels past Frazier in opening round
The Frazier baseball team spent most of Monday's WPIAL Class A first-round playoff game against Carmichaels trying to avoid a big offensive inning by the Mikes.
The Commodores were successful for five innings, which kept the game close. But in the sixth, Carmichaels put up six runs on just one hit on its way to a 10-0 victory over Frazier in six innings.
With the win, the Mikes (13-3) move on to the quarterfinals and will play Western Beaver on Wednesday at a site and time to be determined. For the Commodores (7-12), the loss marked the end of the season.
“We were in the game for a while, but we didn't have many chances to get anything done,” Frazier coach Craig Kordich said.
Frazier's offense was kept in check as Carmichaels pitchers Brandon Lawless and Josh Mundell combined to throw a three-hit shutout. Roger Cline singled twice and Jaime Fell doubled to account for Frazier's hits.
“They beat us the first time,” Carmichaels coach Scott VanSickle said in regards to Frazier's 9-7 nonsection win early in the regular season. “But they didn't see my one and two pitchers, and that was the difference.”
Lawless was particularly effective, going five innings and giving up just two hits while striking out seven and walking two.
“(Lawless) kept us off-balance,” Kordich said. “He limited our base runners, and we really didn't have an opportunity to do much.”
The Mikes, on the other hand, had plenty of opportunities to do major damage against Frazier starter Fell. But Fell did a fantastic job of escaping a lot of tough spots.
The Mikes did score a pair of runs in the first when Ty Cole walked with the bases loaded before Colton Henry came through with a sacrifice fly. Mundell and Ryan Zalar each scored in the first and each finished with two hits and two runs scored.
Carmichaels had a chance to blow the game open, but left the bases loaded in the second and third innings.
“The playoffs are the playoffs, but the Carmichaels team that played in the first couple of innings would have struggled with anybody,” VanSickle said. “But in the second half of the game, we were the Carmichaels team I know.”
The Mikes increased their lead as Tommy Shoaf and Tyler Shoaf singled in a run in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to make it 4-0. Then in the sixth, the Mikes took advantage of some shaky relief pitching and defense by Frazier. Carmichaels benefitted from four walks, two errors, a hit batter and three wild pitches to put up six runs and end the game.
“It happens,” Kordich said. “We have to play 100 percent all the time. When (Carmichaels) had the opportunity to get something, they got it. This is a building experience for us. We hope the kids learn from it and get hungry in the offseason and get ready to get things done next season.”
For the Mikes, the next game is now the focus.
“We got the momentum going and it was a good feeling,” VanSickle said. “It was a good effort at the end, but we have to be a thousand times better to beat Western Beaver.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.