By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Some times a lower seed catches fire at the right time in the Susquehanna Valley American Legion League playoffs and Wednesday night had all of those ear marks for the Shamokin/Mount Carmel American Legion baseball team.
A night after beating higher-seed Sunbury/Northumberland with a late-game rally, Shamokin/Mount Carmel starter Zach Tocyloski escaped two early jams at Danville with double plays.
Meanwhile, Shamokin/Mount Carmel had scratched out a run in the top of the fourth against Danville starter Mason Fausnaught.
However, Danville manager Harold Albertson wasn't worried in the least.
I wasn't (getting frustrated)," Albertson said after the game. "The second (double play) Scotty (Heeter) hit into if their pitcher doesn't get a glove on it and redirect it, it's a single up the middle and we lead 2-0.
"Our bats have gotten hot the last three or four games, we've been stinging the ball."
Danville quickly tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on Fausnaught's RBI double, and then took advantage of four Shamokin/Mount Carmel errors to break open the game in a 7-2 victory.
"Obviously, that fourth inning was a killer," Shamokin/Mount Carmel coach Shawn Kalinoski said. "We just started throwing the ball around. Those are mistakes we can't be making at this point in the season."
Danville improves to 12-6 on the season and will travel to Berwick for the winners' bracket final at 5:30 p.m. today at the North Berwick Field. Shamokin/Mount Carmel drops to 9-9 and faces West Snyder.
Fausnaught was outstanding again on the mound for Danville.
"He's thrown a good game every time he's taken the rubber this season. We lost a 2-1 and 1-0 game with him on the mound when the bats didn't respond, but Mason has thrown well all year," Albertson said. "He's always around the plate and very competitive."
He allowed two earned runs in the 85-pitch complete game. He struck out seven, walked two and hit two batters.
"You have to give credit to Fausnaught. He kept us off balance and we just couldn't hit him," Kalinoski said. "It was the first time we faced him this season."
Shamokin/Mount Carmel had beaten Danville twice during the regular season and looked poise to do it again early. Danville left three runners on base and grounded into two double plays in the first three innings.
After Fausnaught did not allow a hit through the first three innings, Shamokin/Mount Carmel touched him for a run in the top of the fourth. Austin Fry walked and stole second. He advanced to third on Tocyloski's infield single. Dan Lesko then made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Danville answered back quickly in the bottom of the fourth. Cody Keefer singled and came around to score on Fausnaught's long double to the right-field fence. After an out, Fausnaught scored on an error. Mark Mullery singled to put runners on the corners.
After a fielding error and a throwing error plated two more runs, Colton Riley capped the scoring with a RBI single to give Danville a 6-1 lead.
After Bryson Cromley made it 7-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, Shamokin/Mount Carmel tried to mount a rally in the top of the sixth.
Fry and Brody Young singled to open the inning to put runners on the corners. After a Tocyloski sacrifice fly made it 7-2, a Danville error, its first of the playoffs, put two runners on with one out.
Fausnaught got out of the jam with a strikeout and a pickoff at second when catcher Colton Riley threw behind the runner.