With the way Philipsburg-Osceola’s Logan Williamson approaches the plate, his coach, Doug Sankey, thought it was only a matter of time before he got on track.
Thankfully for the Mounties, that time turned the tide.
Williamson’s two-run home run in the fourth inning, coupled with Gage Coudriet’s complete-game outing, pushed P-O past Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy 8-3 on Wednesday evening at Shaner Sports Complex.
The Mounties (8-1) extended their record against fellow Centre County teams to 4-0, after defeating Bald Eagle Area, Penns Valley and Bellefonte earlier in the season.
It looked like that mark might have a blemish, though, until Williamson’s crucial homer.
The Wolves (3-3) scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a Michael Forstmeier single that, aided by a couple errors, turned into a trip around the bases and gave St. Joseph’s an early 2-1 lead.
Tack on Zane Thornburg’s heads-up baserunning on a fielder’s choice in the third inning, and the Wolves were in business with a 3-1 advantage.
The Mounties weren’t helping themselves, either.
P-O eked out a run in the top of the first frame, but stranded the bases loaded in each of the first three innings.
“The wheels kind of came off there,” Sankey said. “We couldn’t drive anyone in.”
Meanwhile, the Wolves were feeling good.
“It was good to get in front,” St. Joseph’s coach Greg Herman said, “but we need to stay there.”
That’s where Williamson comes in.
Fellow captain Derek Shaw led off the fourth with a single up the middle, and Williamson drove him in with authority.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Williamson took St. Joseph’s starter Nate Mellott yard, skying one down the left field line. The ball clanked off the foul pole for Williamson’s first home run of the year and third of his high school career.
When asked if he expects more home runs to come this season, Williamson simply said, “I’m expecting to hit the ball as hard as I can.”
Williamson said he’s had issues with his timing this year, and as a direct result, his hitting has suffered.
But he’s specifically worked on that the past couple weeks, and Sankey took notice.
“He’s gonna get going,” the coach said. “He’s such a good hitter, it would be tough for him not to get going.”
As Williamson’s dinger and a trio of sixth-inning runs gave P-O a healthy lead, it was Coudriet’s steadiness on the bump that kept that advantage intact.
The lanky sophomore said he didn’t have his “best stuff” against the Wolves, but he was certainly efficient. Coudriet recorded five strikeouts, induced six groundouts and allowed only one earned run and five hits.
It’s the only earned run Coudriet has surrendered in three starts this season.
“It’s just been incredible,” the pitcher said. “It’s been like nothing I’ve done before.”
It’s pitching like Coudriet’s and hitting like Williamson’s that has the Mounties positioned so well.
Only one loss nearing the season’s midway point?
It’s not something Sankey had on his mind before the season.
“I didn’t expect to be 8-1,” the coach noted. “Traditionally we’ve always been a little slow starting.”
With an average 8.24 margin of victory, the Mounties have hit no such slow start.
They’re hoping to keep up their current pace at Tyrone on Thursday, while St. Joseph’s visits Homer-Center on Friday.