Montoursville baseball falls to Central Mountain
MILL HALL – It was the right hand of Chase Brush and the bat of Cayde McCloskey that helped push Central Mountain past Montoursville, 4-1, Wednesday afternoon.
The veteran Wildcats delivered when it mattered most and picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. Brush earned the win on the mound after coming in midway through in relief and McCloskey did his work at the plate, delivering three RBIs as the Wildcats managed to overcome an early, 1-0, Warriors’ lead.
After an early-morning snowfall Wednesday, it didn’t look like the two teams were going to finally get game No. 1 under their belts.
“I was surprised we were able to get the game in, I knew the forecast wasn’t really good, but our grounds crew did an excellent job to get us ready,” Central Mountain coach Mike Kramer said after his team’s season-opening win. “It feels good being on a baseball field, and it definitely feels good to come away with a win against a solid team.”
Montoursville struck first as it came away with a run in the top of the second. James Batkowski–who finished 1 for 2 with a walk–roped a line drive into left field which brought in teammate Marco Pullizzi.
Pullizzi was able to score on the hit thanks to stealing second two pitches prior.
The Warriors’ slim lead held strong for the next 2.5 innings. After the Wildcats at-bat in the bottom of the fourth, they bunch never trailed again. The senior McCloskey brought in two runs on a single. The second run–which gave the Wildcats the lead–scored on an overthrow to third.
“I think that we were extremely flat,” Montoursville coach Jeremy Eck said. “With a team that’s senior laden with six guys on the field, it’s kind of unacceptable. When we come down here, we know what we’re getting with Central Mountain. They’re scrappy, they’re tough-nosed kids and if you don’t come out and make plays, they’re going to and you’re going to get beat. We had them down–I thought we were in control–we left thirteen guys on base. We just never got the big hit.”
The end of the fourth marked the end of Montoursville starting pitcher AJ Llorente’s day. Llorente went four, struck out four and allowed two. It was a strong debut for the senior hurler.
“I thought he pounded the zone and kept them off balance and did a fantastic job. He was cruising until we threw the ball away at third base. If we eat that ball, it’s probably a one-one ball game and we probably do things a little bit different,” Eck said about Llorente.
With the lead intact, Central Mountain turned the ball over to pitcher Chase Brush.
Brush–who was excellent for the Wildcats all last season–got back to his winning ways. The junior came in and closed the door on the Warriors by throwing four innings of solid baseball. Brush took over for Cru Stover who went three innings and allowed one run.
“Cru (Stover) started us off well, he competed. He got us in a position where we had the opportunity to win a baseball game. Chase (Brush) came in and did his stuff and pitched very well, pitched out of some tough situations. Feel very confident when he’s out there and I feel very confident when Cru is out there. It was good but we still have a lot to do on the mound in terms of getting on top of hitters and being in command,” Kramer said regarding his pitchers.
The Wildcats went on to add two more to close the game out. McCloskey picked up his third RBI of the game in the bottom of the sixth to give Brush another insurance run.
“It was a team win. We got a lot of guys in there; it was exciting to see. It was one baseball game we just have to continue to get better and work on everything we need to work on,” Kramer said.
Central Mountain 4, Montoursvile 1
Montoursville 010 000 0–1 5 1
Central Mountain 000 211 X–4 9 1
W: Chase Brush, L:AJ Llorente
Top Montoursville hitters: Nick Reeder 2-3; James Batkowski 1-2, RBI. Top Central Mountain hitters: Gabe Johnson 2-3, 2B; Cayde McCloskey 2-3, 3 RBIs.
Records: Montoursville 0-1, Central Mountain 1-0.