Belle Vernon bounces back against Ringgold
CARROLL TOWNSHIP -- Belle Vernon Area snapped back from its first section loss by beating Ringgold, 5-3, in a Class AAA Section 2 contest Tuesday.
The Leps (6-4, 6-1) used a huge performance from sophomore Dom Francia to drop the skidding Rams (3-5, 2-4), who have lost four straight.
Francia pitched six innings and gave up one run on four hits. He struck out 10 and walked three in upping his record to 4-0.
He also helped himself at the plate, going 3-for-4, including a two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning that provided the winning runs.
After the game, BVA coach Dan Palm said he was in awe of how Francia competed despite having stitches in his throwing hand from an injury that took place prior to a game against Uniontown last week.
"Francia is poised beyond his years," Palm said. "He gets better as the pressure gets bigger.
"I thought he would be on the shelf (because of the injury to his hand). Instead, he caught seven innings (Monday) and pitched six today," Palm said. "What a gamer he is."
When Francia singled home the two runs in the seventh, it gave the Leps a 5-0 lead at the time.
However, they turned out to be two huge runs because the Rams scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to make it interesting.
Francia started the bottom of the seventh and yielded a lead-off single to Cody Scruggs.
Palm called on Tyler Frankel in relief and, with two outs, Frankel gave up a three-run home run to Matt Devenney deep over the left field fence.
However, Frankel retired Ringgold's Mike Cramer on a grounder to end the game.
Palm pointed to the fifth inning as the frame that won the game for the Leps.
With Ringgold leading, 2-0, Francia hit Jeff Toth and Scruggs to put runners on first and second.
Andrew Funtel then reached on an error to load the bases with no outs.
Facing Ringgold's 3-4-5 hitters, Francia struck out all three batters to strand the Ram base runners.
"The three strikeouts in the fifth won the game for us," Palm said.
BVA belted out 10 hits in the game with Manown getting three and Jake Campbell adding two. Each had an RBI.
"Manown has been scuffling at the plate," said Palm. "He's kept working hard and it paid off for him today. I'm very proud of him."
Even though Ringgold is struggling, Palm was impressed with the Rams.
"(Ringgold coach) Lou Pasquale will put Ringgold in position to win enough games to make the playoffs ... this year," Palm said. "It should be a fun second half of section play."
GAME NOTES: Devenney had a single to go with his home run ... The game was delayed briefly at the start because of lightning ... Cramer went 6 2/3 innings and gave up 10 hits with four strikeouts and three walks in taking the loss ... BVA hosts Greensburg Salem at 4 p.m. today with another showdown against unbeaten Elizabeth Forward on the road at 3:45 p.m. Friday ... Ringgold travels to Derry today.