Philipsburg-Osceola pitcher Cam Domblisky dropped to one knee in right field to receive the Mounties’ MVP award after a brilliant effort on the mound Wednesday.
Domblisky pitched a complete game to lead Philipsburg-Osceola to a 2-1 victory over Bellefonte, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out seven for the win. And in the postgame huddle, previous MVP Josh Earnest passed along the award in the form of a gold money sign chain.
This year’s tradition started as P-O coach Doug Sankey looked for a way to help the team snap an early-season losing streak.
“We were just missing something, and I thought we need a team MVP,” Sankey said. “And the gold chain’s ridiculous and they have to wear it in school, so they’re embarrassed.”
Domblisky will have to wear the chain until the Mounties’ next win — P-O only picks an MVP after victories. The right-hander hit his spots Wednesday to hold Bellefonte scoreless in the final six innings, commanding his fastball, curveball and changeup in an efficient start. After Domblisky allowed one run in the first inning, the Mounties provided enough support with two runs on a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice fly in the second inning.
The right-hander has been a crucial part of the team’s rotation after having a limited role last season. He suffered a lower-back injury during the 2015-16 basketball season and worked through the injury to pitch for the Mounties last spring. He didn’t play basketball this winter to avoid injury, and he’s been sharp on the mound.
Domblisky was the first player to receive the team MVP award this season after a 4-3 loss to Huntingdon on April 13. Sankey said he stole the idea from the University of North Carolina and bought the gold chain on Amazon before giving it to Domblisky for allowing just one run in six innings against Huntingdon. Though the Mounties lost, Sankey wanted to reward Domblisky.
“The next day, he wore it to school and it just got us all going,” catcher Trey Shaw said.
Now, they only award it after wins.
“The most fun part about it is getting the ‘W,’” Domblisky said.
Domblisky hid the chain under his shirt after winning it the first time, but he said he plans to show it off this time like other teammates have.
Sankey likens the award to past “quirky” traditions that brought his teams together. In 2001, one player was a Notre Dame fan and started bringing the Fighting Irish’s famous “Play Like A Champion Today” sign to games. Sankey said the player forgot it one game against Punxsutawney and called his mother to bring the sign. When she showed up with it, Sankey recalled, the Mounties offense exploded.
In 2006, Sankey took inspiration from the movie “Bull Durham” and kept rooster’s feet tied up with leather from a glove in the dugout. Sankey’s mother-in-law and father-in-law provided the rooster’s feet.
“The rooster, sadly, was killed by a coyote or something, and I said, ‘I need some rooster feet,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh we have some.’” Sankey said. “It was comical because I told the kids that I went out and killed a rooster.”
Sankey laughs about the memory now and fondly recalls one game when Matt Adams — who now plays for the St. Louis Cardinals — rubbed his bat with the feet and hit a “bomb” to add to the fun. This year’s Mounties received a boost from the introduction of the gold chain as players work hard in hopes of receiving the honor.
Domblisky became the latest player to wear the chain home after beating the Red Raiders.
“He’s a very good pitcher,” Bellefonte coach Dan Fravel said. “He didn’t miss a spot hardly all night at all. He knew what he was doing.”