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Community Sports

Worthington-Kittanning has modest win streak stopped

| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:24 a.m.
Worthington-Kittanning Palomino pitcher Anthony Rocco delivers during his team's 5-4 loss to Cranberry Township on Monday, June 24, 2013, at Graham Park in Cranberry. Rocco took a no-decision in the game after throwing six innings and allowing four runs, three earned.
Matt Grubba | Leader Times
Worthington-Kittanning Palomino pitcher Anthony Rocco delivers during his team's 5-4 loss to Cranberry Township on Monday, June 24, 2013, at Graham Park in Cranberry. Rocco took a no-decision in the game after throwing six innings and allowing four runs, three earned.

Worthington-Kittanning fought back to keep its short winning streak alive, but one big swing brought it to a halt.

Tim Crytzer's RBI double in the top of the seventh kept the Mustangs alive, but a walk-off home run by Branden Schlick in the bottom half gave Cranberry Township a 5-4 win in Quad County North Palomino play at Graham Park in Cranberry.

The loss came on the heels of back-to-back wins for Worthington-Kittanning (8-8), which is seeking to get on more of a roll now that it has a full complement of players available and will for most of its remaining games.

“The first three games that I've been back to play, we struggled to get nine or 10 people,” Crytzer said. “The last two games, we've had a full dugout, and we're loaded with talent. Not only our veterans — Bret (Neyman), Andrew (Scholl) and myself — but the younger kids have stepped in to fill some roles.”

“It was a tough one to lose, but that's a good (Cranberry) team over there that also got some players back,” Mustangs coach Terry Steffy said. “But I still think we'll be there in the end. We'll be all right.”

The Mustangs led early to back pitcher Anthony Rocco, but Cranberry took advantage of Mustangs miscues to pull ahead in the sixth.

With his team holding a 3-1 lead, Rocco began the bottom of the inning with a walk, a strikeout and a hit batter before a wild pitch advanced the runners with one out. Dean Ketterer then hit a hard groundball that got past Crytzer at short, and both runners scored to tie the game.

Ketterer advanced to third on another wild pitch, and Matt Ptak's squeeze bunt turned into a single that scored the go-ahead run for Cranberry.

“That was big when they pulled that squeeze off. We knew it was coming, but we just didn't field it right,” Steffy said.

“It was a good pitching duel. Rocco was good, and their guy (Mitch McPeek) had his ‘A' stuff, too. But that one inning we had two errors that let those runs score and the squeeze bunt that was more a mental mistake than anything,” Crytzer said.

Crytzer got his team back into the contest on their final out.

After Scholl beat out a throw to avoid a double play, he stole second and moved to third on a Matt Grafton ground ball. Crytzer then stepped up and delivered a slicing double that fell into right field and tied the game, 4-4.

“I've been struggling to find a groove since I got back, but coach had enough faith to leave me in there to put the bat on the ball,” Crytzer said. “I was just praying that ball would hit grass.”

Neyman came in to relieve Rocco and got the first out on a fly ball, but Schlick got enough of a one-out delivery to put the ball over the fence in left to end the game.

The Mustangs got their early lead on an RBI single from Neyman in the first and an RBI groundout by Sam Keibler in the second. Cranberry got a run in the third, but Shawn Shaner drove in Rocco for a 3-1 lead in the sixth after Rocco stole second and third on the same play with some daring baserunning.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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