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Cal Legion falls to Connellsville

| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:41 a.m.
Lori Padilla | for the Daily Courier
California third baseman CJ Novak (right) stretches to tag out Connellsville's Cameron Bernhardt during the second inning of a Fayette Legion game on Monday, June 24, 2013 at Connellsville.

The Connellsville Legion baseball team is heating up. On Monday, Connellsville beat California, 10-7, for its sixth win in a row and second win over California in the past five days.

Connellsville easily defeated California, 18-5, on Thursday, but this game was much tougher. After building a seven-run lead early on, Connellsville withstood a rally by the visitors and were able to pull out the victory, thanks in large part to a tremendous relief performance by pitcher Lucas Gida.

After California had tied the game in the fifth, Gida came on in relief of Cameron Bernhardt. He got out of a jam in the fifth, then proceeded to toss four scoreless innings for the victory.

Early in the game, it looked as though Connellsville (10-4, 10-3) would turn in a repeat performance of last week's blowout victory between the two teams. Connellsville scored five runs in the first and followed with two more in the second to take a 7-0 lead.

In the first, Mike Parlak and J.R. Blocker each connected for a two-run single and Evan Onusko walked with the bases loaded. Then in the second, Parlak and Onusko each ripped an RBI single and it looked as though Connellsville would cruise to the win.

But California (1-4, 1-4) had other ideas. In the third, the visitors put up five runs as Jake Columbus walked with the bases loaded before CJ Novak and Garitt Woodburn each lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, making it 7-3. Casey Zajicek doubled in a run before Kyle Newman made it a two-run game with an RBI single. Josh Luko doubled and scored in the fourth before Newman doubled in a run in the fifth to tie the game.

“I was impressed with the boys,” California coach Brian Previsky said. “It looked like they were going to route us, but we gave them a better game. We were down and we were flat, but they came through and started hitting the ball.”

Unfortunately for California, only one of those hits came off Gida. Gavin Anderson's single in the sixth was California's only base runner in the final four innings as Gida dominated with five strikeouts.

Tied at 7-7, Connellsville regained the lead with two runs in the fifth. Garrett Brooks singled in a run and Blocker scored on an error. Connellsville added an insurance run in the seventh as Onusko tripled and scored on a single by Brock Bonadio. Bonadio finished with a game-high three hits.

The loss went to Nick Smydo, who pitched a complete game, despite struggling early on.

“This is the first time he has pitched since last July,” Previsky said. “I thought he was impressive.”

Jason Black is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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