During the beginning stages of a first-round game with Bushy Run on Tuesday, the Kiski Valley Legion baseball team seemed like it had everything under control.
But Bushy Run (14-4), which has the third-highest run total in District 31, was able to produce six runs between the fourth and sixth innings to run away with a 10-0 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-three playoff series.
“We adjusted very well, and once we got through the lineup a few times, we were good to go,” Bushy Run coach Scott Peyman said. “We have a lot of seniors and college guys on our roster that know how to adjust during a game, and they had some good at-bats at the end of the game.”
Kiski Valley starting pitcher Sean Furlong allowed two hits and one run through the first three innings, setting down nine straight batters at one point.
But a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt, and two run-scoring hits changed all of that for Kiski Valley (7-12). After Bushy Run’s Cade Patterson led off with a single, Connor Bannias moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt and then starting pitcher Maclean Maund, who threw a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts, helped himself by driving in Patterson with an RBI single.
“Maclean pitched a great game. Our pitching and defense was good, and Kiski made some mistakes that I think we were able to capitalize on and allowed us to win the game,” Peyman said.
One batter later, Tyler Chrise drilled a 3-2 pitch to deep right-center that brought Maund home from first, giving his team a comfortable 3-0 lead.
“We just can’t hit. We had a leadoff hit, and then we had 12 strikeouts,” Kiski Valley coach Dave Montgomery said. “So we gave up four innings of doing nothing, let alone the ground balls we had. We just haven’t hit all year.”
After running from first to home on Chrise’s RBI single, Maund showed a little fatigue in the bottom half of the inning and gave the Vikings an opportunity to capitalize.
Luke Virag drew a leadoff walk, and Ryan Rametta moved him to second with a dribbler up the middle. But Maund called for a mound visit, took a deep breath and delivered two straight strikeouts to get out of the biggest jam he faced all night.
“We had him on the ropes during that inning, but it comes down to a 3-2 pitch, and we swing at a pitch that’s over our head,” Montgomery said. “We took ourselves right out of the game at that point.”
Between the sixth and seventh innings, Bushy Run scored seven runs on just five hits, highlighted by Robert Kusinsky’s RBI triple to deep right-center.
Kiski Valley will have an opportunity to even up the series at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when it travels to Penn-Trafford High School for Game 2. Montgomery knows his team will have to play with a hitter’s mentality.
“If we don’t put the bat on the ball, we aren’t going to do much,” he said.
In the other series opener in District 31, Clay Petrosky hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to lead No. 4-seeded Latrobe to a 6-5 win over No. 5 Yough. Yough fell behind 3-0 but battled back to tie the score at five. The Jethawks will try to finish off the series at Yough at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Top-seeded Hempfield East swept No. 8 Murrysville with a 4-1 win at Haymaker Park on Tuesday. Shane Stuchell allowed four hits and earned the win. Andrew Rosenberg, Reed Hipps and Jack McBride all had extra-base hits.
No. 3-seeded Unity also completed the first-round sweep Tuesday with a 7-2 win over No. 6 Young Township. Justin Stott threw a complete game to earn the win.