Monessen collapses late against Canevin

| Friday, April 11, 2014, 12:26 a.m.

Monessen baseball coach Bill Matush didn't have much of an explanation after Bishop Canevin (3-1, 1-0) blew open a 2-2 game with nine runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win a big early season Section 2 A showdown, 11-2.

“We had a runner on first and then a comebacker to the pitcher and then, well I can't remember the rest,” Matush said.

“The wheels just fell off.”

Starting pitcher Brandon Lenhart was pitching a gem, giving up six hits and two runs over the first five innings.

But in the sixth, with the game tied and a runner on first with one away, Lenhart fielded a comebacker and threw wildly past first base and up the right field line. The runner would score from first and the floodgates opened.

When the inning was over, the Crusaders had sent 15 batters to the plate and nearly triggered the mercy rule on the Greyhounds.

“I knew it would be hard for Brandon to pitch a complete game. He hasn't gone that long in a while and when he started running on fumes stuff just started to pile up,” Matush said.

“It was our third game of the week too, so we were kind of running low on pitchers.

“He was excellent up until that inning. But I knew we would be in trouble around the sixth, seventh inning. He had some arm trouble at the beginning of the year and we are just trying to build him up.”

Monessen (2-5, 1-2) started the game quickly, but faded just as fast.

The Greyhounds sent six men to the plate in the first inning and catcher Tyler Shash scored, but the inning ended with runners on first and third.

Other than a sixth inning laser-like solo home run by Justice Rawlins to tie the game at 2-2, Monessen didn't mount much of a scoring threat.

Shash had two singles for the Greyhounds, but also gave up five runs in the sixth inning in relief of Lenhart.

“We've struggled the past two games,” Matush said. “A lot of it has to do with the quality pitching we have seen the past two days, but we still need to do better. We had a guy on third with less than two outs a couple times and couldn't bring him home. We didn't move runners over a couple times we needed to and probably left about three runs on the base paths.”

Bishop Canevin starting pitcher Mitchell Taufer and reliever Cameron Kohan combined to give up six hits and two runs in seven innings of work.

Left fielder Giovanni DeMarzo was the star of the game, going 4-4 with a double, triple and four runs batted in. He also gunned a Greyhound runner at the plate to end the top of the third.

Even in defeat, Matush insisted that there were a few positives in the day.

“My right fielder (Jordan Keleman) made a lot of nice plays for me today,” the veteran Monessen coach said. “We've been trying to figure out that position and he did really well today.

“Brandon pitched well until the sixth and Justice absolutely crushed that home run.

“Other than that there wasn't many positives today. But we have a game tomorrow. That's four in a week; we have to deal with the adversity.”

Monessen next travels to Geibel for a 4 p.m. road game today.

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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