PHILIPSBURG — A career day for a veteran and a clutch performance by a backup pitcher lifted Bald Eagle Area past Philipsburg-Osceola 13-6 in a Mountain League game that began under cloudy skies and ended in a soft, steady rain at the Don Womer Baseball Complex Thursday.
Ryan Dyke, a four-year starter at third base for the Eagles, went 4-for-4 with three doubles, three runs scored and three RBIs to trigger the offense.
And seldom-used Otis Statham gave the Eagles the pitching they needed, going five innings and allowing three runs on four hits to take the pressure off the top of the rotation.
The Eagle offense pounded two P-O pitchers for 13 hits, five for extra bases, to back up Statham. Joining Dyke in the attack were Jordan Kobularcik (3-for-3), Jason Jones (2-for-4) and Bryan Greene (2-for-4, home run). But it was Dyke who came up with the clutch hits to spark rallies with a single in the second, a double off the left field fence in the fifth, a two-run double to the fence in left-center in the sixth and another double to left-center for another RBI in the seventh.
“He’s swinging the bat they way we knew he could all along,” said Eagle coach Jim Gardner. “He has all the tools and when he’s locked in, he can be tough. Now that he’s found his rhythm, he’s going to be all right the rest of the way.”
Statham, a wiry right-hander, gave up two runs in the first on three straight singles to Aaron Mason, Tanner Lamb and Travis Arnold, and a bases-loaded walk to Curtis Matsko. But after that he kept the Mounties off balance and wiggled out of trouble in the second, third and fourth innings.
“We always knew he had the ability,’’ Gardner said. “Today should be a confidence builder for him and for us. He stepped up when we needed it. He was determined to step up and he did it. He put us in position to win the game.’’
BEA took a big step in that direction in the second inning, when singles by Dyke, Kobularcik and a hit batter loaded the bases for Jones, who lined a double into the left-field corner to clear the bases. He later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.
“That double by Jones was huge for us,” Gardner said. “It opened the game up a little bit.”
Bryan Green expanded the lead to 5-2 when he opened the fourth inning with a homer to left, and then BEA blew the game open with a six-run outburst in the sixth that featured a double by Dyke, singles by Jones and Kobularcik, two walks and two P-O errors.
After scoring a solo run in the fifth, P-O added three in the sixth thanks to three walks by reliever Ryan Guenot, a single by Arnold and a BEA error to make it 11-6.
But in the top of the seventh the Eagles got two runs back thanks to singles by Tyler Schall, Kobularcik and Guenot, Dyke’s third double and a bases-loaded walk to Brandon Gettig.
“This is the fourth game that one inning has hurt us,” said Mountie coach Doug Sankey. “We just can’t seem to minimize the damage. Today we had that one inning (sixth) where we just forgot how to play baseball.”