Shore holds off Central Mountain baseball

MILL HALL — Entering Wednesday’s contest with Central Mountain, the Bulldogs knew they had a stiff test ahead of them. They had to travel to Mill Hall and battle an undefeated Wildcat team with two seventh inning come-from behind victories.

Up two runs, but in a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs didn’t panic. Closer Brandon Depasqua surrendered just one run before striking out Evan Prough to end the game and give Jersey Shore a 2-1 victory.

“That’s just a tough, hard fought, gut-wrenching battle between two great teams there,” Jersey Shore coach Mike English said. “That’s a great baseball team we just played.”

Jersey Shore starting pitcher Timmy Saar tossed five strikeouts and allowed zero runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. The senior leads Jersey Shore with 11 strikeouts this season and is the clear go-to pitcher on the mound.

“Timmy’s been our leader for a couple of years now,” English said. “He’s our ace. Everybody knows he is our ace.”

Saar escaped an early two-out, bases-loaded jam in the first. He got Troy Gardner to pop out to right field, which stranded three runners on bases for Central Mountain.

Jersey Shore’s bats heated up in third. Although the lackluster offense was limited to three hits in the game, all occurred in the third.

Eli Willits cracked a leadoff line-drive single into center field for the Bulldogs’ first hit of the game. Next batter up, Nate Ewing smacked a double into center field. Feeding of the dugout-energy, Koby Peacock recorded an RBI single to put Jersey Shore ahead, 1-0. Darren Stetts followed Peacock with an RBI groundout to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0.

Jersey Shore’s third inning was its only offensive production of the day. Central Mountain starting pitcher Aaron Swartz held them in check with seven strikeouts.

“Aaron did extremely well,” Central Mountain coach Michael Kramer. “If you’re giving up two runs a game, in high school, you should be able to win the baseball game.”

Swartz lasted six innings before relief pitcher Zane Probst was inserted in the seventh. Probst struckout leadoff batter Eli Wittis and forced the next two batters to ground out and end the inning.

Probst, a sophomore, has pitched 6 2/3 innings this season and has yet to allow a hit.

“It’s nice to know we can have somebody like him who can come in, throw strikes and shut things down for us,” Kramer said. “He’s come in four times now (this season) and has done extremely well.”

Jersey Shore turned to relief pitcher Brandon Depasqua in the sixth after starting pitcher Timmy Saar maxed out at 101 pitches. Depasqua carried the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

After intentionally walking Asher Corl in the final inning, Depasqua found himself in a one-out bases-loaded jam. CM’s Mahlik Houtz recorded an RBI single to cut JS’s lead 2-1, but runner Austyn Carson was thrown out at home on the play, for the second out, after attempting to even the game. Depasuqa then struck out Evan Prough to grab Jersey Shore’s third win of the season.

“We had a couple little mistakes there toward the end, but the guys really battled back and got through it,” English said.