South Hills clinches Daily News League title
End it at home.
That was the message South Hills players had for each other Thursday night.
The Snappers came through with a 7-3 Game 4 win over Quinn Construction to capture the Daily New League championship.
“It's pretty sweet to win it all,” South Hills player/coach Clarke White said.
“Last year, we got beat in the semis. It's nice to finally come through this year.”
The victory clinched the best-of-five series for the Snappers at 3-1. They did not want it to get to a final game.
“It's big,” South Hills left fielder Jon Leber said. “We're one of the older teams in the league. I think our legs are falling off at this point, so it's nice to be done in four instead of five.”
Leber, a former West Allegheny and Cal (Pa.) standout, helped ensure the Snappers' win. He doubled, singled twice and drove in three runs against the defending champs.
“Just getting past South Park was big for us because they had our number last year and most of this year,” said Lieber, who was showered with champagne by a teammate. “Winning this is nice.”
South Hills struck early for a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Pat McCarthy singled and Mike McCarthy drew a walk. John Zilles moved them up a base with a sacrifice bunt before Brandon Whitfield walked to load the bases. Leber followed with a sharp two-run single to right.
“Their top of the order is a bunch of big hitters, so any runs help — especially getting them in the first inning when they didn't put up any is huge,” Leber said.
The Snappers blew the game open in the bottom of the fifth with five runs to take command 7-0. All of the insurance runs came with two outs.
“It was nice to pile on,” Leber said.
Pat Trettel's two-run single capped a string of six straight South Hills batters reaching base. Pat McCarthy ripped an RBI double, and Leber added a run-scoring single in the barrage.
“It was huge to get an early lead. That was the biggest thing of the game; we wanted to get them early,” White said. “To tack on is huge because we knew they had the hitters to come back. We wanted to do it every inning, and we had chances, but didn't get it done until the fourth.”
The Mud Cats answered in the top of the fifth with three runs. Adam Becker singled to lead off the frame. He scored on an error. Tarran Senay and Eric Fairman had RBI singles in the rally.
Lefty Matt Mulvihill shut the door on Quinn Construction over the final two innings to earn the save. Righty Brad Schnelle picked up the win as he tossed four shutout innings before allowing three in the top of the fifth.
“We had some good pitching. They've come up big all year for us,” Leber said. “It's been a big help this year.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.