Millionaires top Shore in first game after trip

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette
Ethen Stryker of Williamsport celebrates a seventh-inning hit Tuesday at Jersey Shore.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Ethen Stryker of Williamsport celebrates a seventh-inning hit Tuesday at Jersey Shore.

JERSEY SHORE — Two innings earlier, Jersey Shore right fielder Darren Stetts made a brilliant catch and stole a sure Quen­tin Brown double.

Brown would not let Jersey Shore steal the win.

Brown exacted revenge in the seventh inning Tuesday, hitting a go-ahead RBI single that scored Jalen Jackson. Isaac Snyder then capped a brilliant relief pitching performance by retiring Jersey Shore in order and Williamsport won a 5-4 thriller. The Millionaires (5-1) defeated Jersey Shore (3-5) in their final at-bat for a second straight season and won their first game back in Pennsylvania after competing at the South Carolina Mingo Bay Classic last week.

“I should have had the hit on the last at-bat. I got robbed so I really wanted to get that hit back and come through,” Brown said. “There was one out so I just wanted to put the ball in play and give him a chance to score. I just had to get the ball through the infield and hit it hard.”

Brown did just that, drilling a 1-1 pitch up the middle and into center field. Jackson ignited the rally with a one-out walk and Ethen Stryker moved him to third, ripping a double down the left-field line. Brown followed with his clutch hit and he, Jackson and Stryker combined to finish 6 for 11 with four RBIs and two runs.

Jersey Shore overcame 3-1 and 4-2 deficits, tying the game in the fifth inning, but Snyder slammed the door on their last comeback hopes in the bottom of the seventh, striking out two more, including the final batter. Snyder shined in his four innings, allowing just two infield singles, striking out seven and fanning four of the last five batters he faced.

“Isaac came in and attacked the zone and that’s what you want, especially in a game like that when it’s a one-run game,” Williamsport coach Ryan Miller said. “He did as much as we could have asked him to do.”

“Last year I didn’t do too well on this mound and it was nice to finally find it like this,” Snyder said. “I was looking forward to doing it and I’m glad we got to close it out. It was nice to come out and get the win but we have a lot to work on.”

Williamsport hardly looked like the team that reached the Mingo Bay semifinals and that nearly beat a Florida powerhouse featuring four Division I recruits. The Millionaires made three errors, showed mental lapses at times and failed to deliver a knockout blow after twice taking two-run leads.

But they still won. Even the best teams have off days but the really good ones can overcome those mistakes. The Millionaires can use the performance as a learning experience, but better to learn via win.

“Sometimes you have these humbling experiences and lose so it was very encouraging that they were able to find a way to win on a poor day of baseball,” Miller said. “This is an older group and most of the guys are back and for the most part we’re a very skilled team. I fully expect them to bounce back. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”

Jersey Shore showed it can be mighty dangerous, too. The Bulldogs erased a 1-0 first-inning lead, scoring a run each in the first and second innings. They then scored in the third and fifth innings, tying the game when Dylan Young hit a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Crafty left-hander Aaron Best threw six strong innings against a dangerous lineup and struck out the side in order in the sixth before nearing the 100-pitch count limit.

The Bulldogs manufactured runs, played solid defense and received good pitching from players other than ace Timmy Saar. Young also had an RBI single and a hit-saving catch and the defense added a double play. On a day when Jersey Shore suffered a serious scare as coach Mike English left in the third inning for health reasons, the Bulldogs reminded the district whey they have won five district championships in the past six seasons.

English was taken to a local hospital and said he was feeling well following the game.

Jersey Shore nearly took the lead in the fifth inning, following Young’s sacrifice fly to deep center field. Snyder, however, stranded Lance Welsh at third, ending the threat. Snyder also left runners at second and third with one out in the fourth inning and never let Jersey Shore put together a big inning. It was an impressive performance from a pitcher who showed his stuff in last year’s district semifinals against Wyoming Valley West and who was downright overpowering over the last two innings after catcher Ryan Jolin threw out a runner trying to steal second in the sixth.

“You try not to think too much about the runners and just attack as much as you can,” Snyder said. “You just try and get out of it and do what’s best for the team. Get out of the inning and get us in here hitting.”

Williamsport did that well early as Jackson (2 for 3) slammed an RBI double that scored Elliott Walker who had walked and gave it a 1-0 lead. Jackson struck again in the third inning after Jesse Cornell (2 for 4) singled and hit a game-tying RBI single. In a preview of things to come, Stryker (2 for 4) followed with an RBI single and Brown added a single as Williamsport took a 4-2 lead.

Best found his groove after that but when Williamsport needed those timely hits more than ever, it delivered them in the seventh inning.

“We practice situations like these a lot. They beat it into our heads knowing the situations and we have to come through,” Brown said. “It was a good team effort the way we fought all the way for the win.”

Williamsport 103 000 1–5 8 3

Jersey Shore 111 010 0–4 3 1

Joe Fagnano, Isaac Snyder (4) and Michael Weber, Ryan Jolin (6). Aaron Best, Brandon DePasqua and Wyatt Lorson. W–Snyder, (1-0). L–DePasqua, (0-2).

Top Williamsport hitters: Jesse Cornell 2-4, 2B, R, SB; Jalen Jackson 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Ethen Stryker 2-4, 2B, RBI, R; Quentin Brown 2-4, RBI. Top Jersey Shore hitters: Timmy Saar 1-2, 2 BB, 2 SB; Koby Peacock 1-4, R, SB; Dylan Young 1-2, 2 RBI.

Records: Williamsport 5-1. Jersey Shore 3-5.

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