Cutters win back-and-forth battle, finish sweep

Sometimes in the game of baseball you can battle and scrap for the entire game, but come up on the short end of the final score. However, for the Williamsport Crosscutters in their series finale with Auburn on Thursday night, that wasn’t the case as in the end, the Cutters found a way to twice overcome deficits to defeat the Doubledays, 6-4, completing a three-game sweep before 1,656 fans at Bowman Field.

“We had a couple of guys tweaked up a little bit and had to move some people around,” said Cutter manager Pat Borders. “We had to move some people around and it was nice to see (Brian) Mims make a nice running catch in right field. It was a nice running catch. That was a nice play.”

After only lasting two-thirds of an inning, giving up seven runs in his last outing against the Doubledays, Cutters starting pitcher Will Stewart was much better this time out as he kept it close and gave his club a chance to win.

“His last two outings weren’t as good as he had thrown before,” said Borders. “He made some adjustments and threw better in his last outing. Three games back, he was sharp in that game.”

Williamsport broke on top 1-0 in the top of the third. With one out, Rodolfo Duran tripled to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Jesus Azuaje.

The Cutter lead was short-lived as the Doubledays broke a 17-inning scoreless streak with two runs in the fourth inning

Andres Martinez led of with a single to left, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double to left by Jeyner Baez. Baez moved to third on a ground out by Juan Pascal and scored when Stewart uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning.

But the Cutters took advantage of some loose defensive play by Auburn to tie the game.

Yahir Gurrola reached on a two-base error and later scored on an RBI single to center by Jake Scheiner.

The scoring pendulum swung back to the Doubledays in the fifth and it came with two outs. Chance Shepard worked Stewart for a base on balls and Omar Meregido picked on the first offering from Stewart and belted a towering two-run home run to left.

Trailing 4-2, the see-saw swung back in favor of the Cutters as they put up a crooked number in the bottom of the seventh. Cole Stobbe led off with a triple to right field, Josh Stephen followed with a single off the pitcher’s glove and Duran added an RBI double to his triple.

The Cutters added a little insurance to their total in the eighth when Auburn reliever Jared Johnson put a little gas on the fire. Unable to find the strike zone with any regularity, Johnson issued a pair of walks to load the bases following a single by Stobbe.

Azuaje chased Stobbe across the plate with the sixth run, but Luis Encarnacion fanned to end the inning.

Connor Brogdon (2-1), who came on in relief of Stewart, worked three strong innings, allowing just three hits, walking one and striking out five to earn the victory.

Auburn caused a little excitement in the top of the ninth when they sent the potential tying run to the plate, but Luis Ramirez got Shepard to bounce into a game-ending double play. For Ramirez, the save was his 10th of the season.

“Not only did they bring the go-ahead run to the plate, it was a guy who was very capable of hitting one out,” said Borders. “He was a home run threat for sure.”

On the heels of the series sweep, the Cutters head to Happy Valley for a three-game series with the State College Spikes. The first game of that series is set for 7:05 p.m. tonight at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

With their third straight win, the Cutters head for their battle with the Spikes with a little momentum on their side.

“Wins will have an effect on your pitching and on your bats, gloves and everything else,” Borders said. “It just makes everything much easier to do.”