It has been a long week for both the Bald Eagle Area and Penns Valley baseball teams and it got even longer on Friday.
The Rams and Eagles went extra innings before a winner was decided at Doc Etters Field.
Penns Valley came out on top with a 3-2 victory in eight innings thanks to a Wyatt Sharp dribbler back to the mound on which he hustled out a single to knock in a run. The win finished off a week of four games in five days for the Rams.
“I told Wyatt I’ve never been so glad he hit a ball 40 feet in my life,” Penns Valley coach Chuck Romig said of the winning hit. “It goes in the book as a line drive. He put the ball in play and good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
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With a runner on first and one out, Davey Keller hit a fielder’s choice to get the lead runner out at second. Keller later advanced to third on two straight wild pitches by Eagles’ relief pitcher AJ Onder. Sharp then stepped to the plate and made his hit.
“At that point with two strikes on me, I was just trying to get the bat on the ball,” Sharp said. “I saw the ball hit off the bat and the spin on it, I knew it could be somthing good so I just ran my fastest.”
Sharp and cleanup hitter LJ Johnson, who picked the win up on the mound for Penns Valley (3-4), did most of the damage.
In the first inning, Sharp smacked a twoout double to the right-center field gap. Johnson drove in Sharp with an RBI single to left field. In the fourth inning, Sharp hit a fly ball to right field which was misplayed and Sharp finished at second. Johnson stepped to the plate and collected his second RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Sharp.
“In all my at-bats, I’m just trying to hit the best that I can,” Sharp said, “and the ball just fell in place today and my teammates were able to bat me around.”
“They’re the guys we look to and we have all year,” Romig said of his No. 3 and 4 hitters. “I had LJ batting down in the lineup earlier in the season. He showed that he could move up. Since he’s moved up, he’s playing the kind of baseball we’ve been talking about with these kids, just play the game and take what the game gives you.”
In the bottom of the eighth, BEA had a chance to extend the game but costly baserunning ended the threat.
Dylan Burns led the inning off by smacking a single right up the middle. Courtesy runner Cole Robinson advanced to second on an errant throw from Rams catcher Colton Treaster, who was looking to throw Robinson out at first. Colton Comly grounded out to first allowing Robinson to advance to third. Trey Butterworth then hit a dribbler to third and Robinson took off for home. Penns Valley third baseman Logan Marcum chased Robinson down for the tag out.
“I firmly believe that we have a really good ball club but for whatever reason were struggling at the plate, especially in clutch situations,” Bald Eagle Area coach Jim Gardner said. “I can’t dig into their minds and see what they are thinking. Everyone has to dig deep and figure it out.”
The Eagles (3-5) were playing their fifth game of the week and started the game off on a good note. After falling behind 1-0 after the top half of the first, BEA responded with a two-run bottom half to claim the lead.
Brandon Gettig led the inning off with a single between second and first base. After two straight outs, Comly hit an RBI single to left field scoring Gettig. Butterworth followed with an RBI single up the middle to score Robinson.
Following the loss, Gardner chatted with his team for a while in right field and came away hoping they can put this week behind them and work towards next week.
“I was concerened with our pitching going into this week but my goodness we pitched amazing,” Gardner said. “This is way too good of a ball club to lose four games in a week. They’ve been tough losses. You know, last night we wanted to win to come out the week on top and tonight we just wanted to win just to save the week. This an awesome bunch of kids to coach.
“We just hope we can come up with some answers going into next week because there are no easy games on our schedule. We are looking for a more business-like approach.”