With only 10 combined total hits in the game, both the Philipsburg-Osecola Mounties and the Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers had to make their opportunities count.
In the end, the Crushers converted on their few opportunities, as they defeated the Mounties 4-0 at Point Stadium and advanced to the District 6 Class AA finals.
“We played a very good baseball team,” Bishop McCort head coach Chris Pfeil said. “A really good program. It was a battle. Fortunately, Bryce Kramer was able to punch one through with two strikes on him to get us that first run. Then we were able to tack on after (Mounties pitcher Josh Earnest) lost his control a little bit in the fifth inning. We were able to take advantage. Brett Seitz, he hit every spot we asked him to hit today.”
Crushers pitcher Brett Seitz threw a four-hit shutout, coming through in the clutch when the Mounties stranded seven runners in the first three innings alone.
“Coach (Josh) Day was just calling great pitches all throughout the game,” Seitz said. “I was just hitting my spots and locating. I wasn’t really striking out many guys ... but our defense played a nice game. We had a few miscues at the beginning. But overall, we played a heck of a game.”
Early on, it looked like the Mounties might take charge. Derek Shaw and Logan Williamson drew walks on the first two plate appearances. Isaac Knepp then singled to left to load the bases with only one out. From there, Seitz was able to get Gage Coudriet and Micah Martin to fly out to get out of the jam.
“We just didn’t get that big hit early,” Mounties head coach Doug Sankey said. “I think if we would’ve got a couple runs there ... it’s so hard to play defense and pitch when you don’t have a run.”
Blake Wade doubled and scored on a Kramer single in the third for McCort’s first run.
Earnest went toe-to-toe with Seitz early on, but lost the battle in the fifth inning. With runners at second and third, Ian Fleck used a sacrifice bunt to score Boston Bradley and give the Crushers a 2-0 lead. Earnest plunked three consecutive batters that brought home the game’s final two runs.
“It’s tough to pitch that way (without run support),” Sankey said. “I know he was really feeling it there when he hit those guys.”
The Crushers will play Wednesday against Central for the District 6 Class AA championship.
Philipsburg-Osceola finished its season at 15-8. Sankey said it was good to see his team improve after a couple of down years, as well as seeing young players step up.
“We really only had the two seniors,” Sankey said. “And Caleb (Belinda), he hadn’t played baseball since ninth grade. And he had a great year for us. But I was really proud of Isaac (Knepp) and Derek (Shaw). We had a couple of years there where, I think we went 15 years without a losing season. Then two years in a row, we had losing seasons. Derek and Isaac kind of got this thing turned around. We’re playing with three freshmen and three sophomores, and with those two leading, and Caleb, as the year went on, became a leader, I was really proud of that. Those young guys really followed their example. Those young guys came a long way.”