It was the game that wouldn’t end. Or so it seemed.
It took Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola exactly three hours to decide the outcome of this rivalry thanks to 19 walks, nine errors, four hit batters and 16 hits but in the end, as twilight settled over the Don Womer Complex, the Red Raiders went home with a 13-12 win that pretty much used up both pitching staffs.
There had been some doubt as to whether or not the game could even be played thanks to the couple of inches of snow that fell at Philipsburg on Saturday night.
And while it had melted away by Sunday afternoon it left the field soft and slow, making every ground ball a challenge for the infielders to field it in time to make a play at first.
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P-O got on the scoreboard first when Logan Williamson opened the game with a walk, moved to third on two hit batters and scored on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Matsko.
That 1-0 lead lasted two innings before things got crazy in the third as the Raiders blew up for eight runs, five off starter Tanner Lamb and three more off Curtis Matsko. Doubles by Doylan Dietrich and Vance Przybys, plus a single by Noah Perryman, a wild pitch and six walks contributed to the carnage.
But the Mounties matched that outburst with seven runs in their half of the inning to forge an 8-8 tie. Mitch Winters, Matsko and Tanner Wilson all singled in the inning to go with a balk, a Bellefonte error and three walks.
The Raiders got the winning runs with a four-run rally in the fifth thanks to a pair of walks, singles by Adam Kuhn and a sacrifice fly by Przybys to go with a wild pitch that scored the eventual game-winner by Perryman, who had reached on an error.
The Mounties made a run at the Raiders in the sixth thanks to an RBI-single by Aaron Mason, an error, a pair of hit batters and a walk. A key play in the inning came when Tanner Wilson was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Mason’s single to left.
P-O made it close in the seventh when Travis Arnold got aboard on an error to start the inning and moved to third on another error. He scored on Nick Gray’s infield out that allowed pinch runner Matt Bordas to reach third. But he was caught off the base on a grounder by Caleb Pepperday for the second out of the inning and Perryman ended the game by striking out Winters.
“When the score is 13-11, there are going to be mistakes,” said Raider coach Jeremy Rellinger. “We’re just happy to come up here and come out of it with a win. It’s still early in the season and the pitchers are trying to figure things out. There are going to be struggles and you just have to cope with it. It’s a matter of getting the kids to focus.”
The Mounties fell to 0-2 and are searching for a big bat in their order.
“I think we only have one extra base hit in two games,” said coach Doug Sankey. “We have to start driving the ball somewhere. This is the second game in a row where we got way behind and when you do that you have to be perfect.
“We had a guy thrown out at home and then we had that base-running mistake there at third. Our guys are scrappy, they battle back. And we didn’t give up that many hits (eight) for 13 runs.”