South Park takes advantage of miscues, gets timely hits in win over Thomas Jefferson
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South Park baseball coach Steve Bucci quickly came to the realization that his team was going to need some help if it was going to have any chance of a comeback.
Considering that South Park couldn't catch a break through the first five innings of Tuesday's Section 4-AAA opener at Thomas Jefferson, Bucci's hopes were dwindling.
“Heading into the sixth, I was figuring 3-0 was going to be enough the way their pitcher was throwing,” Bucci said. “I thought the only way we could get back into it was if they supplied an error or supplied a walk or two.”
How about three errors and five hits?
Pitt recruit Joe McHugh uncharacteristically booted a routine 6-4-3 double play in the sixth that sparked yet another wild inning for South Park on Thomas Jefferson's home field that featured six runs, two more errors and four hits in a span of five batters as South Park rallied for a 8-3 victory.
It was TJ's fourth straight loss to South Park.
“When we play here, wild thing seem to happen,” said Bucci, who won his 250th career game.
The game had moments through the first five innings that made Bucci feel like it was just one of those days:
• Shane Fetsko's sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a 1-6-3 double play in the first.
• Fetsko got thrown out trying to stretch a third-inning single into a double.
• A two-out error by shortstop Adam Thompson in the bottom of the third kept the inning alive, which resulted in the first run when right fielder Zack Panian bobbled the ball on a hit by Eric Fairman.
• Josh Coursey's line drive to third baseman Steve Kunzman with two on and no outs in the fourth that turned into an easy double play.
• A pair of seeing-eye RBI singles by Kunzman and Jake Benack in the fourth that gave Thomas Jefferson a 3-0 lead.
“We got a lot of breaks,” Thomas Jefferson coach Gregg Fouts said. “We had some miscues, but you are going to get that early in the season, too,” Fouts said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot on that one (in the sixth), but those things will work those things out.”
TJ wasted a solid effort from starter Dave Stover, who stifled South Park into the sixth inning before two singles sandwiched between McHugh's error forced him out of the game. Stover allowed five hits, walked three and gave up two earned runs.
“He used himself up,” Fouts said. “We were hoping that we could get one more inning out of him. The early part of the season you are going to get that. He is probably in the best shape of everybody, but he just ran out of gas.”
Losing pitcher Braden Flinn faced four batters and allowed three hits, including RBI singles by Thompson and Adam Morris that scored two.
“We had some young pitchers getting out there for the first time,” Fouts said. “You hope they are where you want them to be, and you stick them out there and you see you have some work to do.”
Brian Yoest picked up the win in relief. The lefty retired the final 10 batters of the game.
South Park got two hits and four RBIs from Morris, and two hits each from Fetsko, Anthony Winkler and Brad Collas. Fairman doubled, and Kunzman had two singles for TJ.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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