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Mistakes costly for Monessen in 11-4 defeat

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:11 a.m.
Bob Kucmeroski / For The Valley Independent
Monessen's Tyler Shash beats the throw to third base as he completes a triple in the third inning. OLSH third baseman Nathan Marko awaits the throw.

Mistakes and timely hitting from the opposition sank Monessen in Tuesday's 11-4 playoff loss to Our Lady of Sacred Heart.

The Greyhounds (8-7) found themselves with no shortage of baserunners in the first round of the WPIAL Class A baseball postseason at Washington & Jefferson's Ross Memorial Park. But they went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position in addition to committing three errors while allowing eight batters to reach via walk or hit batsmen.

“We made far too many mistakes today,” Monessen coach Bill Matush said. “You aren't going to win many games where you make three errors and give up five runs in one inning.”

OLSH (14-5) loaded the bases four times, sent nine batters to the plate in three innings and collected nine hits off Monessen pitchers Justice Rawlins and Brandon Lenhart.

Five batters drove in runs for the Chargers, led by first baseman Keifer Bishop's 3-for-5, five-RBI afternoon.

The Chargers broke through in the top of the third, loading the bases twice with two outs and plating three runs on two hits.

Rawlins registered two quick outs before a single sandwiched between two walks loaded the bases. Keifer Bishop's opposite-field bloop double landed a foot inside the left-field line, clearing the bases. OLSH loaded the bases again on a walk and an error before Rawlins was able to get out of the inning.

Monessen immediately tied the game in the bottom of the third. Tyler Shash led off with a triple to deep center and Nathanael Moon singled him home. Moon stole second and advanced to third when the throw bounced into center field. He scored on Josh Kucmeroski's single up the middle. Kucmeroski later scored on Brandon Lenhart's sacrifice fly to center.

“We dug ourselves a hole and used everything we had to pull even,” Matush said. “It seemed like after that inning we didn't have anything left. We lost focus and made several mistakes in the field in the next inning, and things started to pile on.”

But OLSH took advantage of several Greyhound errors to add five more runs in the top of the fourth, highlighted by Bishop's second double of the game, this time plating two runs.

The Greyhounds got one back in the fifth when Kucmeroski singled to lead off the inning. The Greyhound junior stole second and third and scored when the throw bounced past the third baseman into left field.

But OLSH put the game away with three more runs in the sixth inning.

Kucmeroski led Monessen with a 3-for-4, two-run, three-stolen-base performance. Tyler Shash reached base three times on two walks and a triple and scored once, while Luke Doptis recorded two singles.

“I don't want this game taking anything away from what we did this year,” Matush said. “I thought we would go a bit further in the playoffs, but we had a heck of a year and we had a great time doing it. It was a good year. I enjoyed it and I hope the kids did, too.”

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.

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