The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 23, 2013

H.S. baseball: Squeeze play lifts Central past Shikellamy in extra innings


Daily Item

---- — By Shawn Wood

For The Daily Item

SUNBURY-- It's talked about at least once a night during the TV or radio broadcast of a major league baseball game: the lost art of bunting.

On Monday afternoon, Central Columbia showed they have mastered the art, laying down back-to-back bunts, that latter on a squeeze play in the top of the eighth, as they eeked out a 6-5 win over Shikellamy.

The Braves (3-6), held a 3-1 lead going into the top of the fifth, scoring three runs while sending 14 men to the plate in the first two innings.

Logan Hall scored the first run of the game for the Braves in the bottom of the first, after beating out the throw for an infield single. He moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on an ensuing wild pitch to give Shikellamy a 1-0 lead.

Shikellamy left the bases loaded in the first and a total of seven men on base for the game.

Central tied the game in the top of the second when an apparent ground-rule double, as was indicated by Braves center fielder Jordan Garinger, into a home run for Jordan Thivierge after the umpires talked it over.

Shikellamy answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame as Garinger was hit by a pitch with one out, stole second and scored on Colby Lahr's RBI double.

Braves starting pitcher Jake Hare was in command through the first four innings, giving up the home run while striking out two and allowing just two other hits. He induced six fly outs and issued just one walk.

"My hat off to Jake, he threw strikes and threw well," Shikellamy head coach Bobby Felmy said. "His breaking ball was OK and he gave us a good outing."

It's the middle part of the game that has seem to be the undoing for the Braves this season.

"We play well and then that fifth inning rolls around," Flemy added. "We can ramble off six or seven wins and make the playoffs. I've seen it happen before."

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Central (7-3) connected on three straight hits to take a 4-3, lead which began with Adam Novak's seeing-eye-single to right.

To that point, Hare held the top three batters in the Blue Jays line up to an 0-for-6 before Novak's single.

Central would score the rest of its runs; a single run in the sixth and the game-winning run in the eighth, with two outs.

"We had some guys who have been struggling that got big hits for us today," Central Columbia head coach Brett Sarnoski said.

Hare finished the game with four strike outs and two walks in seven innings pitched.

Derek Schleich took over for starting pitcher Donny Koch going into the fourth for Central and he quieted the Braves' bats over the next four innings, allowing a run to tie the game at four in the bottom of the fifth while striking out seven.

Central's Cody Bowman came on in the seventh inning and hit Nick Dunn, the third Brave to be hit by a pitch in the game, to open the inning.

Dunn, who had an RBI single in the second as part of a 1-for-2 day, scored the game-tying run on Jon Stettler's ground out after advancing to third on an infield single by Jean Turber.

Lewis Williams lead off the Blue Jays' eighth with a single and moved to second on a throwing error. He was then sacrificed to third and scored on the squeeze by Novak.

"We work on that play a lot," Sarnoski said of calling for the squeeze with two outs.

"It's the only time all year that we'll see the squeeze," Felmy said. "I'll take the blame for that as I was looking towards the next pitch and I did not see the squeeze being put on."

The Braves went in order in their half of the eight.