BELLWOOD - Mount Union certainly knows the meaning of critical hits after a 6-2 win over Bellwood in the VFW 15-16 State Tournament at Drost Field on Friday.
Despite only having four hits in the game, Mount Union drove in at least one run on each of its hits, proving to be the difference.
Bellwood started off the game well, with Cody Krepps driving in Beech on a two-out double. Beech kept that lead of 1-0 through three innings, as Beech didn't allow a hit and struck out three.
Things started to fall apart for Bellwood, though, in the bottom of the fourth inning. Beech walked the first batter and then allowed a double by Brock Imperioli to tie the game. After Ryan McClain reached on an error, Garret Grainey came up big for Mount Union with a two-RBI single, giving Mount Union a 3-1 lead.
Mount Union struck again in the sixth inning when pinch hitter Kai House hit a RBI single and then later scored on a two-run double by Braxton Knable. Bellwood went down, 6-1, and couldn't make up the deficit with only an innning to play.
"We pitched and hit well," said Bellwood's manager Ken Denny, "but we just had two bad innings today, and that proved to be the difference."
Bellwood had its chances, however. Bellwood finished the game with seven batters left on base and had five more hits than Mount Union. Bellwood even had a chance in the seventh inning with Andrew DeGol on second and Lucas Evans on third with no outs. Brian Leap then grounded out, but Denny decided to send Evans home to try and score, only to be thrown out.
"I didn't regret trying to send [Evans] home," said Denny, "This is baseball, and you have to try and make things happen."
"We played when we had to and played a pretty decent ball game," a relieved Mount Union manager Sheldon Leonard said. "We got hits when we needed them, two of them being pinch hits. The hitting didn't come on today but we were able to still pull it out."
Bellwood will now play the loser of the Punxsutawney-Schuylkill North game 3 p.m. today at Drost Field.
BELLWOOD (2): Leap 2b 401, Montgomery 3b-p 402, Beech p-ss 411, Krepps ss-3b 301, Denny lf 300, Patterson 1b 300, Minori c 300, Evans rf 303, DeGol cf 311. Totals -30-2-9.
MOUNT UNION (6): Dixon ss 300, Rodgers 2b 210, Imperioli p 311, McClain 1b 310, Grainey c 311, D. Knable cf 110, Booher 3b 200, Beatty rf 100, D. Smith lf 301, House ph 111, B. Knable ph 101. Totals -23-6-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bellwood100 000 1-2 9 6
Mount Union000 303 X-6 4 1
E-Krepps 3, Leap 2, Evans, Grainey. 2B-Krepps, Montgomery, Imperioli, B. Knable. RBI-Montgomery, Krepps, Imperioli, Grainey 2, House, B. Knable 2. WP-Imperioli. LP-Beech. SO-Beech 3, Montgomery 2, Imperioli 6. BB-Beech 3, Montgomery.
Records: Bellwood (0-1); Mount Union (1-0).