The Philipsburg-Osceola baseball team is mired in a slump and searching for answers.
P-O coach Doug Sankey made a lineup change to try something different, but the Mounties couldn’t get anything going offensively in a 10-0 loss to DuBois on Thursday.
It pushed the team’s losing streak to three games, a stretch defined by frustration at the plate as they’ve been outscored 24-1. They managed just three singles and reached third base once against the Beavers.
“You’re not going to win if you don’t score,” Sankey said.
DuBois starting pitcher Noah Schneider went five shutout innings to earn the win.
Before Schneider even threw a pitch, the Beavers (13-4) built what proved to be an insurmountable lead.
DuBois scored five runs against Mounties pitcher Isaac Knepp in the top of the first inning.
After Braden Paulinellie singled with one out and Nick LaBrasca drew a walk, Drew Bankovich dropped an RBI bloop single into right field. Ryan Pasternak then crushed a three-run home run that landed at the base of the trees beyond the left field fence.
A pair of errors led to another run, giving the Beavers a 5-0 lead.
“It takes a lot of pressure off, it does,” DuBois coach Todd Stiner said. “Especially for our pitcher.”
Schneider threw well, getting ahead in the count early and often.
He threw first-pitch strikes or saw the Mounties put the first pitch in play in 15 of their 20 at-bats against him. The right-hander didn’t overpower P-O (11-6), finishing with just three strikeouts, but he avoided any trouble.
Schneider gave up two hits and walked three during his outing.
“We’re really not a pitching staff that has enough velocity to blow guys away,” Stiner said, “so we need to focus on getting ahead early to be able to throw offspeed pitches and keep guys off balance.”
The Mounties have been out of sorts at the plate for the last week.
The losing streak started with a 7-0 loss to Central last Thursday and continued with a 7-1 loss to Huntingdon on Tuesday.
It’s a far cry from the team’s average of more than nine runs per game during a seven-game winning streak to start the season.
So Sankey flipped shortstop Logan Williamson and second baseman Josh Earnest in the lineup.
Williamson moved from the No. 3 spot to leadoff and flew out on the first pitch of his first at-bat.
Williamson finished 1 for 3 with a walk, his 17th of the season.
“Logan has 17 walks. That’s been tough,” Sankey said. “We just can’t find somebody to hit behind him and teams are just walking him.”
Earnest also went after the first pitch he saw in the first inning, a lineout to second base.
He came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and third in the third inning.
And Earnest, known as an aggressive hitter, again attacked on the first pitch and popped out to first base.
The Beavers continued to add to their lead, scoring two runs on four hits in the fourth and adding another against Knepp in the sixth.
The left-hander, who started the season 3-0 with a three complete games, allowed eight runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in the loss.
“Hitters are going to catch up,” Sankey said. “They’re going to get their timing down, the weather’s going to get nicer. We just haven’t been able to match our offense. I think we’re pitching well enough to be in games.”