TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mariotti leads Freeport to first playoff win in 15 years

Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Freeport's Damon Smith (10) and Ryley Cowan (5) celebrate at the conclusion of Freeport's game against Brownsville on Monday, May 13, 2013, at Mt. Pleasant Area High School. Freeport won, 9-4.

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, May 13, 2013, 9:54 p.m.
 

Even with his command not quite at 100 percent, Luke Mariotti turned in a commanding playoff pitching performance.

The senior pitcher overcame six walks allowed by striking out seven and yielding only four hits to lead Freeport to its first playoff win in 15 years, 9-4, over Brownsville in the WPIAL Class AA first round at Mt. Pleasant.

Ninth-seeded Freeport (12-3) advances to face undefeated No. 1 Quaker Valley, a 6-3 first-round winner over Burrell, in the quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.

Robbie Miller was 4 for 4 with three RBI for Freeport, which pulled out to an 8-0 lead before Brownsville (13-5) scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the sixth. Prior to that, Mariotti held the Falcons to one hit through the first five innings.

“The mound was a little tricky, but that's no excuse (for the walks). I felt good the entire game and got a few calls here and there that helped,” Mariotti said. “I was throwing my game.”

Mariotti's game revolved around excellent use of his off-speed pitches — he consistently went to his curveball early in counts — and, more often than not, threw them for strikes. Even after allowing Brownsville's runs in the sixth, Mariotti came out strong in the seventh and ended the game with a clean inning.

“I was really disappointed with our effort,” Brownsville coach Skooter Roebuck said. “(Mariotti) threw a lot of curveballs to us, and we have to make an adjustment. At one point, he was starting everybody off with a curve, and we were just watching them like we were surprised.”

“That's how we planned it. It's pretty much how I've always worked because I don't have a great fastball,” Mariotti said. “My off-speed pitches are really what I go to.”

The Yellowjackets scored in the first inning when Dustin Koedel led off with a double, stole third and scored on an error, but it was a five-run second inning that gave Freeport one foot in the quarterfinals.

Ryley Cowan laid down a sacrifice bunt with one out, but a throwing error by Brownsville pitcher Tyler Spohn allowed Cowan to reach first safely. Noah Shannon, back in the Freeport lineup after missing more than two weeks with a hand injury, followed that with a two-run single for a 3-0 lead.

Two batters later, Miller dropped a two-run triple just inside the right-field line, and he scored on a groundout by Levi Negley for a 6-0 lead.

An error helped Brownsville load the bases in the sixth, and a three-run double by Cory Lent cut the lead to 8-4. Lent would be the final Falcon to reach base in the game as Mariotti responded to the only real adversity he faced with four straight outs.

“(Giving up runs) is nothing unusual for us,” Freeport coach Chris Graczyk said. “Innings like that in the playoffs can cost you, but we were lucky that it didn't today. (Mariotti) worked his way out of a jam the way they've done all year.”

“It's nice to be a part of the class that gets a playoff win,” Mariotti said. “We've worked hard for it, and now we're going to keep going deeper into the playoffs.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
  2. Suspects in SWAT incident in Pittsburgh identified
  3. 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
  4. Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
  5. Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
  6. Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
  7. Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium
  8. Deadly snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.
  9. College Board alternative pushed
  10. 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
  11. Pittsburgh police motorcycle officer seriously injured in crash