Cutters start post All-Star break with win

STATE COLLEGE — When Williamsport and State College get together for a New York-Penn League baseball game, you can usually expect just about anything to happen.

Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, it was one of those nights as the Crosscutters prevailed, 5-3 over the Spikes.

The first four innings featured a lot of action, both good and bad. Through the next four innings, the bullpens of both clubs settled things down, Williamsport scoring the only run over the final five frames for the 5-3 win.

“The guys out of the bullpen came in and did a real nice job,” said Cutter manager Pat Borders. “They slowed down their runners and we had a couple of errors that helped them out in the one inning. Overall I liked the way our pitchers performed, especially out of the bullpen and our hitters didn’t give away any at-bats.”

The Cutters outhit their hosts by a 14-7 spread, getting three hits each from Jake Holmes, Jonathan Guzman and Keudy Bocio.

“They brought their bats with them tonight and they have done that all year,” said Borders. “We very seldom give away at-bats when we go up there (to the plate) regardless of what the score is. We don’t go up there trying to hit a home run every time, but rather we try to do what we are capable of doing, whatever that might be.”

If there was a down side to the win, it was that Spike pitchers struck out Cutter hitters ten times.

“Strikeouts are part of the game, part of the development aspect of the game,” Borders said. “Knowing yourself, having a plan and despite striking out that many times, fourteen times our plan was correct.”

As for giving up big hits early, Spikes manager Joe Kruzel felt it was a matter of his pitcher leaving pitches up in the zone.

“I think our biggest problem early was that (Spikes starting pitcher Diego) Cordero had some pitches up in the zone where he ended up giving up some extra-base hits,” said Kruzel. “We were able to fight back with (Brady) Whelan getting the solo home run in the second, Espinal drove in a run in the third and then we took advantage of a couple errors in the fourth to get back to within one. We had some other opportunities throughout the game that we didn’t capitalize on, but by the same token, (Winston) Nicacio and (Edgar) Gonzalez did a good job of keeping the score where it was.”

Nicacio pitched his way into and out of a jam in the sixth when the Cutters had runners on first and third with nobody out.

The Cutters drew first blood in the second inning and they did it with a little two-out lightning.

Jonathan Guzman singled to left, Matt Kroon worked Cordero for a free pass and Keudy Bocio plated Guzman with a RBI single to left.

The Cutter lead was short-lived as Brady Whelan led off the bottom of the second with a 370-foot blast into the right field bleachers for a solo home run.

Just as the 1-0 Cutter was short-lived, so was the 1-1 deadlock as Ben Pelletier hit a 412-foot moon shot to left for a solo home run and a 2-1 Williamsport lead. The scoring pendulum, though, swung back in favor of State College as Wadye Ynfante walked, Nick Dunn singled to center and Stanley Espinal drove Ynfante in with an RBI single to deep short.

Keeping their bats smoking in the fourth as the Cutters combined doubles by Ben Aklinski and Guzman with singles from Holmes and Bocio that produced a crooked number for a 4-2 lead.

Down by two, the Spikes took advantage of a pair of Cutter errors to cut their deficit in half after four complete innings.

For the next four innings, things settled down into scoreless baseball by both teams until the Cutters tallied an insurance run in the ninth on singles by Holmes and Pelletier followed by an RBI single to center by Jesse Wilkening.