The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

July 3, 2014

American Legion Baseball: Selinsgrove, Danville battle to a draw before lightning suspends game

DANVILLE — Colton Brouse threw free and easy for six innings Wednesday, providing a veritable blueprint for pitching on a sweltering evening.

He cruised through 18 outs — including a string of 14 in a row at one point — never needing more than 14 pitches in an inning and blanking Danville on two singles.

However, two unwritten laws of baseball eventually derailed the Selinsgrove right-hander: The one that says the last three outs of a game are the toughest, and one that says a 0.44 ERA can’t possibly go lower.

Brouse, who crafted that otherworldly ERA over four starts (3-1), loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh on two singles and his first walk of the game. He then walked in a run and was lifted for Tyler Showers, who was within an out of saving it for Brouse when Kurtis Mordan blasted a tying ground-rule double.

As if on cue, a lightning strike during the changeover for the eighth inning halted play, and the torrential downpour that followed caused the game to be suspended. The teams will finish it on a date to be determined.

Brouse, who had allowed just one earned run in 16 innings this season, took a no decision and saw his ERA triple to 1.27 despite pitching six dominant innings.

He pitched around a leadoff single in the first inning with the help of a double play, and then worked through a hit batsman and one-out single in the second. The consecutive fielder’s choice plays that ended the second inning kicked off the run of 14 outs that carried Brouse through the sixth.

Selinsgrove’s defense was flawless behind Brouse, who struck out four (three in his four straight 1-2-3 innings). Shortstop Tyler Cook, in particular, started the key first-inning double play, and handled five other chances with ease.

All the while, Selinsgrove built its ace a 3-0 lead with clutch hits. Selinsgrove threatened in the first by putting two on base with two outs. Then, an inning later, they scored with a pair of two-out hits.

Jake Nylund led off the second with a bad-hop single to short and went to second base when the ball was throw away. He was moved to third on a Zac Broome sacrifice bunt and scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Cook lined a hit to right field, stole second and raced home on Andy Ryan’s hit through the left side of the infield for a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Cook reached with a hit that was mishandled in the outfield, allowing him to take second. He moved up when Ryan bounced out and scored on Austin Benner’s two-out hit through the left side.

Selinsgrove (7-5) also stranded eight runners, three in scoring position.

Danville (6-6) had little hope before Garrett Krum and Zach Brent opened the home seventh by lining back-to-back hits to right field. Brouse quelled the momentum a bit with a strikeout, but then walked Cody Keefer on four pitches. He fell behind Colton Riley 3-1, filled the count but then lost him a pitch low and away.

Showers inherited a three-on, one-out jam and got a strikeout with an elevated 3-2 offspeed pitch. Then Mordan, 0-for-2 to that point, slammed the next pitch high into the left-field corner and over the fence on a bounce to tie the score.

Danville had runners at second and third with two down, but Riley was thrown out at the plate on a delayed steal attempt when Mordan drew a throw to second base.

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