Steel Valley holds off South Allegheny in final inning for 4-3 win
Tim Vickers asked his pitcher in the fifth and then again in the sixth.
Before the start of the seventh inning, the Steel Valley coach had Brandon Donovan warming up, just to be safe.
But on this day, there was nothing that was going to stop Thayne Mitrik from finishing this game — not even after giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh against South Allegheny and having the tying run at second base.
“One more batter,” Vickers said he told Mitrik when he went out to the mound after South Allegheny clawed within a run with two outs in the seventh,
One more batter is all Mitrik would need.
He struck out Matt Vasilich swinging at a high fastball to preserve Steel Valley's first win of the year, a 4-3 Section 4-AA victory over South Allegheny.
“Thayne threw an awesome game,” Vickers said. “He is our senior leader, and if he tells me that he is going to finish the game, I am going to trust him.”
Mitrik was perfect through three innings before allowing four hits and striking out eight for the Ironmen (1-3, 1-0).
Despite the repeated injuries, Mitrik felt that Vickers never really wanted to lift him.
“I kind of knew that he wanted to keep me in,” Mitrik said. “He kept asking me if I was good. I think he was trying to play with my mind. I think he knew I wanted to finish it, and he wanted me to finish it.”
Mitrik outdueled South Allegheny's Dakota Goodrum, who scattered five hits over seven innings while striking out four and walking five. Two of Steel Valley's runs came on errors, with the other two credited to walks.
“That is something we have become accustomed to with Dakota Goodrum,” South Allegheny coach Mark Suckfiel said. “We he is on, he is on. When he gets a little bit wild, he gets wild. But I'll take him over most pitchers in the WPIAL.”
Steel Valley got a bloop RBI single from Derek Morrison in the first, scored on RBI groundouts in the second and third innings and used a heads-up play by Mitrik in the seventh that proved to score the winning run.
Mitrik scored from second on a ground ball to first baseman Nick Ravida, who shoveled it to Goodrum covering. Goodrum's momentum took him away from home, and Mitrik took advantage.
“I wanted to be aggressive,” Mitrik said. “I knew that the pitcher and first baseman were lackadaisical. I knew I was going from the start, and if I had to stop hard then I would've stopped hard.”
Ahead 4-1 going into the last inning, SA battled back with a two-out single by Brandon Bost, surrounded by a pair of walks that loaded the bases for Danny Daly. Daly ripped a single to center to score two and get SA within 4-3.
“We have kids who will fight, who will claw, who will battle, and that's a good sign,” Suckfiel said. “Things happened for us, but they happened too late.”
Cameron Mehalcik had an RB I single for South Allegheny (2-3, 0-1). Teammate Derek Vargo added a double.
Steel Valley has nine days off before returning to action.
“Now we have a baseline, now we have a point to where we can start getting better,” Vickers said. “We didn't have that until today. We needed to get a win, but regardless, we need to get better and get better fast.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a email@example.com.