Burns & Burns and Pizza Pub win playoff openers
By Kenn Staub
For the CLARION NEWS
Paul A. Weaver Community Park came alive on Friday evening (June 4) with a Clarion Little League doubleheader atop the hill. In the first game, Burns & Burns shrugged off Rotary's third inning comeback to win, 12-7, while Lions, despite outhitting Pizza Pub by a wide margin, fell, 8-5, under the lights.
Burns & Burns, playing as the away team in the opening contest, jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Rotary in in the first inning.
Dom Corcetti got things started for Burns & Burns, hitting a one-out, solo homer to right-center. Corcetti had himself a day for the boys in orange, going 4-for-4, adding a triple and two doubles after going yard, and driving in three.
Carter Hindman followed Corcetti, reaching first when his grounder was misplayed by the shortstop. He proceeded to second on a passed ball to the next batter, Kayden Fiscus, who moved Hindman along to third upon hitting into a fielder's choice.
With two down, Rotary starter Kevin Mumford's control went by the wayside and he gave up five consecutive free passes, four walks and one hit batter. The slow parade around the bases concluded with Burns & Burns ahead, 4-0.
In the second, Michael Troese, on in relief of Mumford, slowed the bleeding to a trickle for Rotary. Corcetti rapped a deep, sun-aided triple to right field and was subsequently driven in by Hindman, making the score 5-0 for Burns & Burns.
Corcetti, Burns & Burns's starter, stymied Rotary over the first two, striking out four of the six he faced.
Troese and Rotary kept Burns & Burns off the board in the top of the third, setting up a comeback in the bottom of the frame.
A two-out error by the Burns & Burns shortstop gave Alex McGinley first. He went to second and then third while the next batter, Mumford, was in the process of accepting a walk. Mumford got himself into scoring position, the result of catcher indifference when he broke for second.
With Paul Craig at the plate and runners on second and third, a wild pitch brought McGinley home with Rotary's first run. Mumford, advancing to third on the play, also scored; taking advantage of a mishandled toss from catcher to pitcher as Burns & Burns tried to get McGinley at the plate.
Craig subsequently walked, going to second on a wild pitch. He came around to score when, running to third on a passed ball, the throw down to the bag got away into the outfield, making the score 5-3. While this was happening, Liam Huwar was a spectator in the box, ultimately walking on a 3-2 pitch.
Sensing blood in the water, Huwar stole second, Troese driving him in with a single to right. Troese made it to second on a wild pitch and was plated by Tyson Hooks, who singled and snagged second when the ball was mishandled in the outfield. Ian Craig drove in Hooks with a single of his own.
Eight batters after the second out, the inning ended with a pop-up to short and Rotary ahead, 6-5.
Neither team scored in the fourth, but Burns & Burns would retake the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth.
The rally got under way when Ryan Rinker walked and took second after an error was committed on an infield roller off the bat of Tanner Love. A passed ball moved both into scoring position. Rinker tallied a run and Love took third on Braden Larson's single to left. A dropped third strike gave batter Wyatt Dehner first, pushed Larson to second, and allowed Love to score. Casey Kemmer's five pitch walk loaded the bases for Dom Corcetti, who once again came through in the clutch, rapping a double that scored Larson and Dehner, putting Burns & Burns ahead 9-6.
Ethan Corcetti, who had replaced his brother on the mound to start the third, had a 1-2-3 inning on the bump for Burns & Burns in the bottom of the fifth, giving his team the opportunity to extend its lead in the sixth.
Kayden Fiscus led off for Burns & Burns by walking, taking second and third on a series of wild pitches by Ian Craig, on in relief of Troese. A one-out walk to Maverick Mahle followed, with the Burns & Burns runner benefitting from catcher's indifference to take second. Rinker once more walked, loading the bases.
An infield error, again coming on a grounder by Love, scored Mahle. Larson next walked to plate Mahle and a single by Dehner pushed Rinker across the plate with Burns & Burns's final run of the game, the score now 12-6.
Rotary scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, Ian Craig coming around on a Cael Jackson double, to set the final at 12-7.
Hindman, Ethan Corcetti, Rinker, Larson, and Dehner each singled for Burns & Burns. Larson drove in three and Rinker, Love, and Dehner one apiece.
Ethan Corcetti, got the win in relief, striking out four, walking four, and giving up four hits in his 2 2/3 innings of work. Kemmer pitched to the final Rotary batter of the game, striking him out on four pitches.
For Rotary, Ian Craig collected two singles, Cael Jackson doubled, and Troese and Hooks notched a single apiece. Troese, Hooks, Ian Craig, and Jackson each plated one.
Troese relieved Mumford in the first, working 4 1/3 inning; striking out one, walking three, and surrendering seven hits. He took the loss for Rotary.
Mumford, after his stint on the bump, was moved to shortstop, where he flashed the leather, recording three unassisted outs and assisting on another three.
Ian Craig pitched the final inning for Rotary, striking out one, walking four, and giving up a hit.
Lions and Pizza Pub met in the nightcap, the former playing as the away team.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Pizza Pub parlayed five walks, a hit batter, a single, and a Lions error into six runs. Pizza Pubs' final two runs of the inning came on steals of home by Lucas Ion and Brady Clinger, in that order.
After holding Lions scoreless in the top of the fourth, Pizza Pub added two more runs in their turn at bat, taking an 8-2 lead. Once again, Pizza Pub's last run of the inning came via a player swiping home, this time Eli Nellis crossing the plate.
Lions mounted a comeback in the fifth, rapping out five hits, including a triple by Kaden Phillis, and scoring three, setting the score at 8-5. The game ended with the final Lions out of the inning, the contest truncated due to the park's curfew (no new innings can start after 10 p.m.).
Brody Beggs, Jackson Mravintz, Wes Breniman, and Phillis all had two hits for Lions, with Alex Love, Patrick Durish, and Hayden Greenawalt each chipping in one. With the exception of Phillis's triple, all Lions hits were singles. Phillis drove in three and Durish one.
Nellis collected two of Pizza Pub's three hits, the other coming off the bat of Parker Miller. All hits were singles. Miller received credit for an RBI.
Love started the game for the Lions, facing only two batters, each of whom walked. Beggs followed Love, pitching 2 1/3 innings and taking the loss. He surrendered a hit and two walks against seven strike outs. Lucian Sloan pitched 2/3s of an inning, striking out two and walking two. Durish pitched the fifth, fanning three and issuing two free passes. Love and Sloan didn't surrender a hit, Beggs gave up one and Durish two.
Pizza Pub used three pitchers. Miller got the start, going three-and-a-third and earning the win. He struck out six, walked one, and allowed five hits. Billy Kahle followed, his stint on the mound lasting 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three, walked one, and had six hits against him. Nellis closed out the game, facing one batter in earning the save.