STRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT/D9) – When two good teams face each other, usually the one who takes advantage of their opportunities comes out on top.
Saturday was no exception as Karns City took advantage of three Clarion-Limestone errors while getting a solid pitching effort from Mike Neff in a 5-2 victory over the Lions at the C-L Sports Complex.
(Above, Karns City’s Mallick Metcalfe backs out of the way of a pitch during the Gremlins’ win Saturday/photo by Diane Lutz)
Tommy Smith pitched equally effective for C-L, however the errors and two hit batters would haunt him in suffering the mound loss.
“Tommy gave a good enough effort on the mound today,” said C-L head coach Todd Smith. “We just couldn’t generate any offense for him and our defense let him down.”
For the Gremlins, Mike Neff went the distance, allowing two earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Smith allowed five runs – two earned – in six innings. He allowed four hits, two walks, struck out nine and also two hit batters. Logan Lutz pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one hit with one strikeout.
After one out in the second inning, Braden Grossman reached on a fielding error at third base. Braeden Rodgers reached on an error at first base as Grossman moved to third on the error. Zack Blair hit an RBI single for a 1-0 Karns City lead.
C-L (8-5) threatened in the third inning as Kohen Kemmer reached on an error after one out. Lutz singled to put runners on first and second base. Tommy Smith hit into a fielders choice as Lutz was erased at second on the force out, moving Kemmer to third and Smith reaching first. A fly out by Bryson Huwar ended the threat.
Karns City (10-4) added three runs in the top of the fifth. Blair was hit by a pitch after one out. Hobie Bartoe reached on an error, moving Bartoe to third after he had previously stolen second base. Blair scored on a wild pitch as Bartoe stole second. After a strikeout, the Lions elected to intentionally walk Mallick Metcalfe. Neff hit an RBI single while Metcalfe later scored on a passed ball for a 4-0 lead.
C-L threatened again in the bottom of the fifth as Corbin Coulson started the inning with a single. After two outs, Lutz and Tommy Smith each walked to load the bases. However, Huwar followed with a hard line drive, which was caught by Blair in left field to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Rodgers was hit by a pitch with one out. Troy Nagel then drew a walk before Blair collected his second RBI single of the day, pushing the lead to 5-0.
The Lions finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth as Jordan Hesdon reached on an infield single. Jase Ferguson reach on an error as Hesdon moved to third on the play. Ferguson stole second and Hesdon ran home as the Gremlins elected to throw to second in an attempt to retire Ferguson, which cut the lead to 5-1.
C-L added another run in the bottom of the seventh as Tommy Smith doubled to deep center field with two outs. Huwar delivered a RBI single to left field before a strikeout ended the game to set the 5-2 final score.
“We just hit too many fly outs and pop outs today,” said Todd Smith. “We also made too many mistakes in the field and you can’t do that against good teams. We have a couple games left next week before the playoffs so we’ll have to regroup and learn from this game.”
Blair and Neff each collected two hits with Blair driving in two runs, while Neff added one RBI to lead Karns City.
Cole Sherwin added the other Gremlins hit.
Corbin Coulson and Huwar each had two hits for C-L. Lutz, Tommy Smith, and Hesdon each added one hit.