HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School baseball team had rough sledding in its first four road games this season, winning just one.
Junior righthanded pitcher Mark Curtis helped the Mounties buck that trend Wednesday afternoon. Curtis pitched a complete game, scattering seven Hollidaysburg hits in seven innings, as P-O logged a 5-2 victory over the Golden Tigers on the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School Baseball Field.
"This was a big game for us on the road, and I was just trying to focus on getting outs,'' Curtis said. "My slider came on for the first time all year.''
P-O coach Doug Sankey, whose team improved to 8-3, also noticed Curtis' slider.
"He threw four pitches for strikes today,'' Sankey said. "He threw his slider a little bit more, and [Hollidaysburg's] guys seemed to be chasing that.''
Curtis struck out five batters and walked four, while Hollidaysburg (4-5) stranded 10 baserunners. The Golden Tigers left the bases loaded in the second inning and stranded two runners apiece in the first, third and seventh innings.
"That's been our Achilles heel,'' Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said of the missed scoring opportunities. "We get some people on base, but we can't seem to get that timely hit.''
P-O, on the other hand, capitalized on its opportunities and Hollidaysburg mistakes to build a 4-0 sixth-inning lead and win despite being outhit in the game, 7-5.
The Mounties benefited from a Hollidaysburg error, wild pitch and passed ball sandwiched around a double by third baseman Matt Kephart to plate two third-inning runs. In the fourth inning, catcher Rob Smith walked and eventually came around to score on the back end of a double-steal attempt as P-O went ahead, 3-0.
P-O loaded the bases with one out in the sixth inning and Smith, who had drawn a leadoff walk, scored on Logan Walstrom's bases-loaded infield single.
"We made too many mistakes today,'' Szynal said. "When you run into a good pitcher like [Curtis], you can't afford to make many mistakes.''
Hollidaysburg dented the scoreboard in the sixth inning when pinch-hitter Chris Storm's RBI groundout scored right fielder Brandon Gallagher, who had drawn a walk to lead off the inning.
Shortstop Mike Marcinko drilled a solo homer over the left field fence in the seventh inning to put P-O ahead, 5-1, and Andy Crum's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning produced Hollidaysburg's second run.
Curtis closed strong, fanning two batters in the Hollidaysburg seventh inning.
"He's a very good pitcher,'' Szynal said of Curtis. "He had command of two or three pitches, and he was throwing them for strikes. That [P-O] is a very good team.''
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (5): Marcinko ss 211, Curtis p 400, Smith c 120, Greenawalt rf 200, Watson 1b 401, Carpin lf 200, Walstrom cf 311, Kephart 3b 311, Harris 2b 301. Totals - 24-5-5.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (2): Claar cf 411, Burger 3b 402, Hileman ss 301, Viduya p 000, Crum dh 201, Baum 2b-p 400, Urban 2b 000, Gallagher rf 210, Ford 1b 200, Glass 1b 100, Miller c 201, Sell cr 000, Storm ph 100, Russell lf 301. Totals -28-2-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Philipsburg-Osceola002 101 1-5 5 2
Hollidaysburg000 001 1-2 7 1
E-Hileman, Marcinko 2. 2B-Watson, Kephart, Claar. HR-Marcinko. RBI-Marcinko, Walstrom, Crum, Storm. SF-Crum. SB-Smith HBP-Carpin by Baum. LOB-Hollidaysburg 10, Philipsburg-Osceola 6.
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLAIP R ER SO BB
Curtis (W)7 2 1 5 4
HOLLIDAYSBURGIP R ER SO BB
Viduya (L)54 2 2 6
Baum1 2 1 1 0
WP-Curtis, Viduya 2. PB-Smith, Miller.
Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (8-3); Hollidaysburg (4-5).
Umpires: Jim Cushion (plate); John Garritano (bases).
Time of game: 1 hour, 48 minutes.