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Cutters offense explodes in win over Spikes

Cutters Ramon Bramasco slides into second base safely as Maques Paige tries to tag him out first inning against State College at Bowman Field. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

The baseball rode a frozen rope off the bat of Williamsport Crosscutters shortstop Ramon Bramasco. Nobody was going to catch it, at least not unless some lonely blades of grass in the right-center field gap were wearing miniature baseball gloves.

They weren’t.

The baseball rolled to the wall at Bowman Field and Bramasco cruised into second base. Rob Marinec and Steven Nitch scored without a throw.

It was a banal two-run double in a season which sees dozens of them. This one, though, seemed to light some kind of fire under the Crosscutters’ offense. Bramasco later scored on a wild pitch. The Cutters then followed with four runs in the next inning, two more after that, and five more in the sixth inning.

Williamsport scored a season-high 14 runs in a 14-5 win over State College on Friday to open a three-game series against the Spikes. It was the fifth time this season the Cutters have reached double-digits in runs. It’s the fourth time they’ve done it against State College.

Cutters Nick Consentino delivers a pitch in the first inning against State College at Bowman Field. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

The previous season-high for runs came on May 27 in an 11-2 win over Trenton.

“The guys are starting to come around swinging it,” Bramasco said. “We’re getting a little more comfortable in the box. I think it was a rough couple days trying to get something going. But we’re starting to roll and had a couple good ABs.”

Bramasco’s run-scoring hit – his second of three hits Friday – was just the start of a snowball which became a runaway hazard for State College pitching. It was the continuation of a strong offensive showing in which the Cutters have scored 31 runs over their last three games.

Despite not struggling of late to put runners on base, there have been plenty of struggles finding ways to bring those runners across home plate. That wasn’t the case last night. Williamsport was 7 for 16 with runners in scoring position.

Bramasco was 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position and drove in three runs. Tito Fuentes the III, who came in hitting just .154, hit a pair of bases-loaded singles to drive in a season-high four runs. Rob Marinec was 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position out of the ninth spot in the lineup, driving in three runs.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Ramon Bramasco stands at first base after hitting a first-inning single against State College on Friday.

It was the kind of offensive performance Williamsport had been looking for since returning from the All-Star break.

“We were caring about the results so much that we force it to happen,” said Cutters pitching coach Jim Gott. “And when you do that, we have bad at-bats and we have bad pitching outings. It was funny that the conversation during a game like this was about that because we noticed that by relaxing in the moment, the results were so much better.”

And the positive results just poured in Friday. For a team which struggled to get more than one hit with runners in scoring position in a game for much of the month, they came with ease last night. Bramasco’s RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning was a blooper which found a way to land in between three State College defenders.

Both of Fuentes’ hits were bullets back through the middle, one of which went right through the legs of Spikes pitcher Trae Davenport. Marinec drove another ball back through the middle which scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Fuentes and Marinec combined for seven RBIs.

“That was beautiful,” Bramasco said. “It makes the rest of the lineup get comfortable. They’re setting the tables themselves to roll it over to the top where we’re able to do what we do. We did all one through nine.”

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Williamsport pitcher Taiga Yamane high-fives a teammate after finishing an inning Friday against State College.

“I think they realized we’re in the last two weeks of the season and they’ve given it their all,” Gott said. “At this point, we’ve done all the grind, so let’s just enjoy what we’re out here doing. That’s been the theme of what we’re trying to do the last few weeks.”

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