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Beauty of baseball never more evident in Cutters' twinbill split

July 22, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT

mrupert@sungazette.com

It was the beauty of baseball in motion Sunday at Bowman Field.

As bad as things were for the Williamsport Crosscutters, and for as many things that went wrong in the first game of a doubleheader against State College, it was the complete opposite in the second game. The Cutters made three errors and allowed 11 hits in the first game, losing 12-6.

Kevin Brady threw four brilliant innings in a spot start in the nightcap, and Brian Pointer hit a two-run triple in a 5-0 win. It was the Cutters' first shutout win of the season. The win also snapped a four-game losing skid and a four-game losing streak to State College.

"That's the great thing about this game. It doesn't matter what previously happened. You just have to go out there and attack," Brady said. "We did a pretty good job of just dropping stuff. It's part of the road to the majors to be able to drop stuff quickly and move on and I think we were able to do that."

The second game of the twinbill was a vision of beauty for the Crosscutters. All the things that have plagued the youngest team in the New York-Penn League through 33 games disappeared.

Pointer, who is third in the league with 40 strikeouts, drilled a two-strike change-up to center field over the head of the Spikes' Barrett Barnes. Chris Serritella scored easily from third and Mitch Walding got a great read on the hit and scored without a throw from first base.

Logan Moore then battled back from a 0-2 deficit to get in a situation where he lifted a fly ball to right field to score Pointer. In the third inning with nobody out and runners at the corners, Serritella put a two-strike pitch in play scoring Cameron Perkins.

A team that has struggled with situational hitting so much this year - just a .232 average with runners in scoring position and .239 with runners on base - did all the little things right Sunday night.

"That's what I'm trying to do, put the bat on the ball with two strikes," Pointer said. "It doesn't have to be hard. Just it in play because you never know, they could make an error or you could get a hit."

"For Pointer, sometimes when he gets deep in the count, he panics," Cutters manager Andy Tracy said. "He got a pitch up and he drove it and we got some runs out of it."

And after the Cutters scored three runs in the second inning and two more in the third for a 5-0 lead, Brady was able to shut down the State College offense to hold on to momentum, something the staff has struggled with all season.

After the three-run second inning, Brady, whose fastball topped out at 91 in his second appearance with the Cutters, retired the side in order with a pair of strikeouts. After a two-run third inning, Brady allowed a leadoff single to Alex Fuselier before getting a routine fly ball, the fifth of his five strikeouts, and a line drive to third to end the inning unscathed.

Brady threw 38 of his 50 pitches (76 percent) for strikes. He allowed just two hits in four innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out five. He utilized a high fastball to get three of his five punchouts.

"I'm just trying to keep the momentum coming back to our dugout and putting the game back in the hands of our hitters and the defense," Brady said. "I've been working on mechanical stuff and changing a couple things and I felt like I was able to locate my fastball and that helped out a lot."

"I thought he threw great," Tracy said. "He got through four which was awesome. He's got some deception. There's something about him because you can see the swings they're taking."

The Cutters got through the second game using just Brady and right-hander Chris Nichols, who threw three stellar innings of relief, facing the minimum. It was a needed pick up after Williamsport lost Game 1 starter Jordan Guth to an injury after just one inning.

Tracy was unsure of the nature and severity of the injury to Guth following the game. The right-hander out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee allowed four earned runs in the first inning of the opening game. He walked Barnes in that inning on four pitches, just his second walk in 28 innings this year. He also hit a batter on a 1-0 pitch.

"For him to walk guys รค and the way he walked them, too, was kind of a red flag to me," Tracy said. "We brought something up and he just gave us a weird answer. He just doesn't lose command like that."

The 12 runs the Spikes scored in the opener were a season high. They scored four in the first, which included a two-run single from Jacob Stallings. State College added two more in the fourth and three more in the sixth.

Walker Gourley had three RBIs for the Spikes and Stallings and Chris Diaz each had a pair.

Williamsport scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a Yan Carlos Olmo three-run double to cut the deficit to 4-3. They added two more in the fourth to cut a four-run deficit to just two, but the Crosscutters never got any closer.

"We just had some lapses, I thought," Tracy said. "We fought back in the game and then some things happened and we made wrong decisions with the baseball. I was a little disappointed in the first game at some things that happened. But we competed in the second game. The kids came back and fought."

 
 

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Blog Photos

CRAIG S. MCKIBBEN JR/Sun-Gazette State College's D.J. Crumlich slides into home past Williamsport catcher Chace Numata in the fifth inning of the first game of a doubleheader at Bowman Field on Sunday.