Connellsville wins wild one
It's the middle of baseball season, but on Connellsville's baseball field, newly painted football yard lines could be seen in the outfield, which served as a reminder that fall sports isn't that far away.
But an even bigger reminder was the football-like score that the Connellsville and Waynesburg Legion teams put on the board on Wednesday. After spotting Waynesburg a 9-0 lead, Connellsville (11-6) stormed back and eventually won by a touchdown and two-point conversion, 21-13 in eight innings.
"I think the special teams was the difference," Connellsville manager Kevin Henry joked. "I think they were reaching for chin straps on their batting helmets."
Kevin Henry could joke after the game, but the second inning was no laughing matter as Waynesburg (2-9) sent 15 batters to the plate and scored nine runs.
Aaron Palmer, Eric Churney and Andy McLaughlin all singled in a run and scored. Aaron Carpenter knocked in a run with a double and Tom Golacinski plated two with a single to make it 9-0.
But Connellsville didn't panic. Instead, the home team got two in the second, then pounded out eight more runs on eight hits in the third to take a 10-9 lead.
Connellsville had RBI singles from Bubba Fox, Phillip Gratchic and Eric Luckey. Zack Leonard and Travis Henry each drove in two with a single while Chris Marsinko doubled to drive in one.
Luckey finished with three hits and three runs scored while Travis Henry also collected three hits and drove in four runs. Leonard knocked in three runs on two hits while Fox drove in two on two hits. Marsinko had four hits and four runs scored.
"Chris Marsinko got some big hits," Kevin Henry said. "And Travis is hitting well for a younger kid."
Connellsville got to Waynesburg starting pitcher Derek Gifford for seven hits and nine runs. The rest of Connellsville's offense came at the expense of losing pitcher Rick Staansberry. Waynesburg tied it in the fourth when Golacinski singled in a run. But Connellsville took the lead with five runs in the fourth and never trailed again. Marsinko and Gratchic each singled and scored while Andy Beucher drove in two with a triple.
Beucher finished with two hits, four runs scored and four RBIs.
Meanwhile, Connellsville reliever Gratchic did a good job of containing Waynesburg over the final six innings. Gratchic came on in relief of Shawn Durr and was able to hold the fort and pick up the victory, posting nine strikeouts along the way.
"Phillip came in and put out the fire," Kevin Henry said. "He has confidence pitching behind this team."
Waynesburg pulled to within 15-13 as Scott Cree doubled in a run in the sixth. But Connellsville put it away with three in the sixth and two in the seventh. In the sixth, Beucher came through with his second two-run triple of the game.
Despite losing a big lead, Waynesburg coach Sam McLaughlin wasn't disappointed with the effort of his club.
"It was a good ball game," Sam McLaughlin said. "We jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but we are a very young team and that hurts you in this league. But games like this don't hurt these boys, especially when you score 13 runs against Connellsville. We lost the game, but it is a confidence booster. We just need to hang in there."
"Waynesburg hit the ball early," Kevin Henry said. "But we showed some character and the older kids turned it around and helped the younger kids out."
Connellsville finished the game with 20 hits.