With the tying run on second base in the seventh inning, Chambersburg pitcher Drew Betz needed two outs to seal his team’s victory.
Betz got a called third strike on a breaking ball on the outside corner to send State College’s Chris Boal back to the dugout. He then finished off the Trojans’ 4-3 victory over the Little Lions with another strikeout, getting Bailey Ishler to swing and miss at three straight pitches. It was one of a handful of missed opportunities in a game State College coach Bill Tussey said his team simply didn’t execute offensively.
The Little Lions failed to get two bunts down. They struck out looking four times, including chances with runners in scoring position.
“That’s not even trying to come up with the big hit,” Tussey said. “You give in on a called third strike, that doesn’t do us any good.”
Chambersburg starting pitcher Tristan Daywalt allowed three runs and struck out six in six innings to earn the win. Betz allowed two hits and struck out two to close out the win.
State College’s Kyle Peterson allowed three runs on four hits in three innings to take the loss. Tristan Ballenger gave up one run in four innings of relief.
Chambersburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
With two outs, Daywalt hit a fly ball behind third base that dropped in between three State College defenders and scored Matt Stonesifer from second base. Hunter Brindle then stepped to the plate and hammered a line drive down the left field line for an RBI double to make it 2-0.
“You’re gonna occasionally give up runs that way,” Tussey said. “And even with that, we were right in the game. If we execute, we give ourselves a chance to win.”
State College responded in the bottom of the first, pulling even thanks to an RBI double by Sam Plafcan and a failed pickoff attempt that allowed courtesy runner Dalton Barger to score.
But the Little Lions’ execution issues proved too much to overcome at the plate and in the field.
State College faltered defensively at crucial times as the Trojans capitalized on a pair of errors to score their final two runs. Chambersburg regained the lead in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Carlin Christian.
The inning started with a double by Austin Suders, who advanced to third on an error before scoring.
Chambersburg pushed its lead to 4-2 in the fifth when State College botched a first-and-third situation.
The Little Lions called for second baseman Tyler Hall to cut off the throw by Plafcan, the catcher, on a steal attempt. Plafcan’s throw was high and Hall rushed the throw home as Stonesifer to scored easily.
“We just took a chance and it worked,” Chambersburg coach Bob Thomas said.
Tussey said State College was solely focused on getting the runner at third on the play.
“We knew the guy on first whether he stopped or not, we didn’t care, we knew the guy on third was gonna try to score,” Tussey said. “We had the right defense on, we just didn’t execute.”
It was a phrase Tussey used to describe his team’s play offensively and defensively Wednesday.
The Little Lions couldn’t break through against Daywalt after the first inning.
“He’s pitched really well for us all year,” Thomas said. “He’s only had one bad inning all year. If you call that first inning a bad inning, that was the second bad inning that he had this year. He’s had two shutouts and one other game he gave up one run.
“He’s our top guy. He’s not — as I call ‘em studs — but he does a good job.”
Daywalt allowed State College to cut the deficit to 4-3 in the sixth when Brandon Raquet hustled out an infield single to score Ben Shawley.
But the Little Lions never got any closer and couldn’t overcome the wasted trips to the plate.
Said Tussey: “In a close, one-run game, you can’t afford that.”