The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 13, 2013

H.S. baseball: Selinsgrove beats Lewisburg on 11th inning passed ball

Daily Item

---- — By Anthony Mitchell

For The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE -- Alex Moyer saw the ball slip all the way to the backstop and immediately broke for home.

It was a fortunate break for a team due more than few in a season full of close losses.

Moyer scored standing up on the passed ball, a tie-breaking run in the bottom of the 11th inning, for a 3-2 win over Lewisburg in a Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game. It kept alive the Seals' playoff hopes.

"That was a big win for us," Selinsgrove coach Brent Beiler said. "We're 8-10 right now so we have to win two more (for a district-qualifying standard of a .500 record."

Moyer started the inning by working a walk on five pitches from Joey Gardner, who entered the game in the ninth. Colton Brouse intended to move Moyer into scoring position with a bunt but a throwing error and alert baserunning put the winning run just 90 feet away.

After a pair of strikeouts, Austin Benner ran the count to 3-0 before the ball -- and the Green Dragons' chance for a win -- skipped away.

"(Scoring the winning run) felt pretty great," Moyer said. "We kept playing our game and eventually it worked out in the end."

A passed ball was a fitting end to a game defined by pitchers controlling the tempo and teams playing station-to-station baseball.

"Even though they're not in the playoffs, they still battle and play hard and I'm very proud of them," Lewisburg first-year coach Kevin Kline said of his Green Dragons.

"They did a great job."

With both teams failing to put together a big inning to break open the game, the question quickly turned to which team would need to go to its bullpen first. Moyer and Lewisburg's Luke Smith each pitched beyond the regulation seven innings, with Moyer pitching the maximum nine in a single day.

After quickly retiring the Seals in the bottom of the eighth, Kline turned to Gardner. The Seals could not manage a hit in the right-hander's first two innings of work as Gardner barely allowed the Seals to make contact.

Moyer gave way to Brouse for the start of the 10th. The two runs Moyer allowed were unearned on Seals' errors.

"(Moyer's) been pitching real well lately," Beiler said. "I didn't expect anything less from him. His pitch counts are low; he's not walking guys. For him to give us nine strong innings there is outstanding."

Smith helped his cause against Moyer in the third with a sharply-hit grounder to second base that was bobbled, allowing Steven Gingher to score. Gingher reached on an error to start the inning.

Smith faced the minimum through the first three innings and appeared to have the Seals' number. Brouse, though, brought the Seals back in the fourth with a single for the first of his two RBIs, scoring Tyler Cook.

Smith was unfazed and struck out Aiden Greak, before beating Zack Hendricks to first base on a groundball to end the threat.

Beiler said, "(Colton) had a big hit there to tie the game and a bunt. The bunt was huge. He made things happen and got the job done."

An error gave the Green Dragons the lead back in the fifth inning, 2-1. Leading off the sixth inning, Isaiah Rapp laced a ball into the gap for a double. Brouse soon after hit a double to plate Rapp.

The Seals nearly ended the game in the bottom of the seventh as Austin Benner stood on third with two outs. Smith retired Cook on a groundout to end the threat.

Selinsgrove hosts Danville today, then plays Wednesday at Jersey Shore.