ShareThis Page

North Catholic deals Riverview 3rd loss in last 4 games

| Monday, April 28, 2014, 11:24 p.m.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
North Catholic's Nick Tunstall slides safely into second base while Riverview's Zach Hanus takes the throw Monday, April 28, 2014, at Pullman Park in Butler.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Riverview's Jason Anthony (right) slides safely into third base against North Catholic's Nick Nyman during the sixth inning Monday, April 28, 2014, at Pullman Park in Butler.

Rain continued to fall and the air temperature dropped into the 40s Monday afternoon as Riverview baseball coach Rich Griser assessed his team's loss to North Catholic, but the Raiders' longtime coach never attempted to blame poor weather or the unfamiliar synthetic playing surface at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler for any of his team's miscues.

Sporadically sloppy play, Griser explained, has been a nagging problem this season for the Raiders, rain or shine.

An unearned run in the bottom of the first inning gave Section 4-A frontrunner North Catholic a lead it never relinquished in its 5-3 win over Riverview (9-3, 4-3), which has lost three of its last four games. The Trojans (6-6, 6-1) put together their strongest inning of offense in the third, when they scored four runs with the help of two Riverview errors.

“We're our own worst enemy right now,” said Riverview coach Rich Griser, whose team finished with six errors. “We have a couple players who look fine in practice, but then they get in the games, and I don't know if it's stage fright or whatever.”

North Catholic answered Riverview's errors with gaffes of its own. Two errant throws to first base in the top of the fourth allowed Jason Anthony and Dom Conte to score and cut North Catholic's lead to 5-2.

Anthony scored Riverview's other run in the top of the sixth when he singled, stole second and third and then scored on Shayne Slebrich's grounder single back up the middle.

While Riverview's infielders struggled to eliminate errors, its outfield delivered a few highlights that kept hopes of a comeback alive.

In the bottom of the fourth, Slebrich collected a ground ball single in left field and fired a throw home, where catcher Jake Paradise placed a tag on North Catholic's Nick Tunstall, who tried to score from second.

Anthony kept momentum on Riverview's side in the sixth inning as he leapt on the run to snag a deep fly ball in center field — had he failed to make a catch, the ball likely would have rolled to the deepest point of the park, which sits 425 feet away from home plate.

At the plate, Anthony went 2 for 3 with a double. He also walked to load the bases in the top of the seventh inning, but North Catholic's Jake Matschner, who relieved Tunstall on the mound prior to Anthony's at-bat, escaped the jam with a strikeout.

“I don't really think it's a mental thing,” Anthony said of the Raiders' struggles. “I think it's more of a physical thing for us right now. We need to swing the bat well, make routine plays and just get outs.”

Until Anthony's double in the fourth inning, Riverview failed to get a hit off of Tunstall, who was one out short of a complete game.

While the Raiders try to return to their winning ways, North Catholic aims to stay ahead of the section's crowded pack — Leechburg (2-3, 2-3), St. Joseph (5-3, 3-2) and Springdale (4-6, 4-2) each pulled off surprising wins over a team ahead of them in the standings this season.

“Overall, it's been a crazy year, and that's why I'm not taking anything for granted for the rest of the season,” said North Catholic coach Max Zingle, whose Trojans lost 2-1 at Leechburg on April 22. “In the past, this section has typically been one or two teams at the top. With everybody losing to everybody, I think it's a sign that the talent level is way more comparable top to bottom this year.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.