BUTLER, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The Clarion baseball team had its chances against hard-throwing Branson Carson and reliever Dawson Wallace.
(Above, Dawson Wallace)
But the Moniteau pitching duo did what they had to do to escape Pullman Park with a 7-6 win over the Bobcats Tuesday afternoon.
“We knew they were going to be a tough opponent,” Carson said. “It’s good that we came through and got the win.”
It wasn’t easy.
Carson threw 99 pitches in five innings as Clarion changed its approach at the plate after the first time through the order.
Instead of attacking early in the count, the Bobcat hitters took pitches and were more patient, running up Carson’s pitch count.
Carson struck out seven and walked four in five innings. He gave up four hits and three runs, but all the runs were unearned as Moniteau committed four errors behind him and Wallace.
“We were facing a really good pitcher over there,” said Clarion coach Rob Jewett. “Carson’s a real nice pitcher and he throws hard, so we knew it’s gonna be a battle and we started getting some balls in play. In the beginning, we were chasing some stuff and kind of helping him out. Then we kind of settled in a bit and made him work more, so that was good to see we could adjust during a game.”
With Carson cruising early, the 1-0 lead Moniteau managed to get in the bottom of the first inning off Clarion starter Greg Matus looked like it may be all the Warriors would need.
Matus pitched well in his two inning, striking out three.
But the right-hander had to leave the game with a possible concussion after he was hit in the head by a fastball by Carson in the top of the third. He stayed in the game and ran the bases, but became a bit disoriented and dizzy not long after the hit-by-pitch.
“I thought he was going to be OK, too — Gary’s a character to begin with, so it’s hard to tell what’s going on,” Jewett said. “I guess my first base coach was telling him some stuff and he was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I wish I would have known that. He went out to the mound and said he was woozy.”
Derek Smail relieved Matus and struck out three in three innings. He gave up four runs, but only one was earned.
Moniteau extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, keyed by RBI singles by David Martino and Keagan Book.
But Clarion responded with three unearned runs in the top of the fifth.
Moniteau pushed the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Connor Ealy, but the Bobcats tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the sixth on two more unearned runs against Wallace.
Moniteau (4-1) got two more runs in the bottom of the frame on a bases-loaded walk by Obman and a fielder’s choice groundout by Carson.
Clarion (5-3) had a chance again in the top of the seventh, scoring on an error to make it 7-6 and putting runners in second and third with two outs, but Wallace got out of it with a strikeout to end the game.
“I liked our fight. You can’t teach battling,” Jewett said. “So that’s what I like to take out of this. We’ll clean those things up come playoff time.”
Wallace got the win. Tanner Miller picked up the loss.
“I’m proud of all of us,” Wallace said. “We overcame some things and gave it our all. We just had to keep fighting and get this win.”