Cutters defeat State College, 6-3
STATE COLLEGE — The State College Spikes received five scoreless innings from their bullpen and a 2 for 3 effort from first baseman Marques Paige, including a mammoth home run in the second, but starter Andrew Moore got roughed up by the Williamsport Crosscutters as the Spikes fell, 6-3, Tuesday evening at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
“It’s good to see these hitters, not just our hitters in State College, but as a league, start to take better swings,” Spikes’ manager Delwyn Young said about the growth in the MLB Draft League.
State College got on the board first, plating a run in the bottom of the inning. Curtis Washington, Jr. led off the frame by beating out an infield hit to shortstop. He advanced to third on two wild pitches by Williamsport’s starter Troy Taylor and scored on a single to shortstop by Hylan Hall, who was making his debut with the Spikes.
Moore looked in total command in the first, getting the Crosscutters in order with two strikeouts, but Williamsport went on the attack in the second.
Lance Logsdon, Trey Steffler and Michael Turconi each singled to load the bases with one out. Catcher Kyle Smith ripped a double off the third base bag and down the left field line to drive in two Crosscutters’ runs.
Moore went into Tuesday’s start coming off of a dominating performance against Williamsport on June 2. The Spikes’ pitcher allowed two hits and struck out nine in relief in State College’s 6-4 win, but the Crosscutters learned from their previous experience and were ready for Moore this time around.
“Everyday changes with this competition. The more (a team) sees somebody, sometimes it’s harder… sometimes it’s easier,” Young said about the Crosscutters getting to Moore early. “On this given day, they saw him better than we saw (Taylor).”
With the one-run lead, Williamsport wasted little time adding on, as the following batter, Noah Hemphill, doubled to right field, plating Turconi and Smith.
State College faced a 4-1 deficit and came to the plate in the second looking to chip away at the Crosscutters’ lead. Zion Pettigrew, also making his Spikes’ debut, led off the inning with a triple to right-center field and immediately put State College in scoring position.
Pettigrew’s speed around the bases highlights a strength for this Spikes team. The youth and speed were obvious both in the field and on the base paths. As the season progresses, Young believes he and his team will be able to make the most of their abundance of speed.
“That’s just the signs of a great baseball player. If they give you second base, even if you have to steal it, why would you stay on first,” Young said. “The closer we can get to home, the better the opportunities we have to score.”
Following the triple, Paige stepped into the box and demolished a pitch by Taylor high into center field. As the Williamsport center fielder looked up, the ball sailed well over his head, disappearing behind the batters’ eye in dead center field.
The blast came off the bat at 103 miles-per-hour and was estimated to travel 439 feet. Paige’s home run is the longest of the season for the Spikes and just four feet shy of the unofficial record at Medlar Field.
“With power coming one through nine, as long as it goes over and it’s fair, that’s all that matters to me,” Young explained. “It’s been good to see (Paige) make an adjustment over the last week. He hit one in Mahoning Valley that might have gone twice as far.”
The Spikes closed the lead to 4-3, but the Crosscutters’ offense responded immediately. Nolan Wosman led off the top of the third with a line drive, solo-home run over the 378-foot mark on the left-field fence. Wosman’s home run was tracked at 395 feet.
Moore, seemingly rattled by the long home run, allowed a single to three of the next four batters to load the bases with one out. Smith hit a fly ball to center, deep enough to plate Logsdon from third. The sac fly was Smith’s third RBI of the game.
A game that saw nine runs scored in the first three innings looked poised to be a shoot-out and a high scoring affair, but the bullpens from both sides were spotless for the remainder of the game.
Moore ended his day after four innings of work, allowing six earned runs on nine hits. Young was forced to turn to his bullpen in the fifth, but the trio of Kiernan Higgins, Mason Mellott and Drew Garrett combined to pitch five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits for State College.
“These kids come from different programs, and they all have different pitch counts and limits of what they can do,” Young explained. “(Moore) went out there and competed for what he needed to and then handed it over to the bullpen. They did a great job. They kept us in it, (Williamsport’s) bullpen kept them in it and the score never really changed.”
For the Crosscutters, Taylor clawed his way through five innings, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out five. Hunter Kloke, Zach Klapak shut out the Spikes in the next four innings of play, with Klapak picking up the six-out save