Jextin Pugh walked off Peoples Natural Gas Field with a clenched jaw, shaking his head Friday following Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic's 3-1 loss to Bishop McCort in the District 6 Class A title game.
One could hardly blame him for being frustrated.
Pugh allowed just three runs while going the distance on the mound. One run came on a check-swing single, another on a weak dribbler to first base and the final one on a chopper over a drawn-in infield. All of this came just before McCort decided to intentionally walk Pugh in the final inning with two outs, taking away his chance to tie the game.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Bishop McCort catcher Zach Varga makes the tag on BG’s Morgan Litzinger for an out at home plate in the third inning on Friday.
"That game was the most frustrating thing that can happen to a pitcher," Pugh said. "You throw pitches that should get you outs, and you see a cheap hit like that, and it's so frustrating."
McCort will take on District 7's runner-up in the first round of PIAA Class A play on Monday, June 4, while the Marauders' season will continue when they take on the District 7 champion the same day.
The Marauders (16-6) outhit the Crimson Crushers, 6-5, and held a 1-0 lead after one inning.
McCort starting pitcher Jesse Cooper was careful with Pugh the entire game and walked him on five pitches in the first. Morgan Litzinger courtesy ran for Pugh and scored when Jared Keller doubled. Keller got to third, but Cooper got Mike Pleva to ground out to second to end the inning.
BG had runners on second and third in the second inning after T.J. Krol singled and Derek Cursio doubled, but Pat Irwin's ground ball up the middle was snagged by McCort shortstop Justin Vardian, who recorded the out.
In the bottom of the inning, McCort scored twice on a pair of walks and a hit.
"Both of the runs they scored [early] were off walks," Bishop Guilfoyle coach Bill Wolf said. "We've talked about it all year. When you walk guys, a lot of the time, they are going to score."
Despite trailing, 2-1, Guilfoyle had an excellent chance to regain control of the game in the third. Pugh and Keller led off with back-to-back singles before Nick Johnson singled to left. Litzinger, courtesy running for Pugh again, was sent home and thrown out at the plate by McCort left fielder Christian Leech for the first out in the inning. Cooper then retired Pleva on a fly out and Brendon Sweeney on a grounder to escape the inning unscathed.
"We had opportunities to score, and we didn't get it done," Wolf said. "They made plays, but we had opportunities that we didn't take advantage of."
Cooper pitched the final four innings without allowing a hit.
"Jesse didn't throw his best game, but he threw well enough," Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. "Our defense really responded today. Jesse and Leech are winners. When you have kids like that on your team, they always end up making big plays."
The Crushers (20-2) added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Leech singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and went to third on a wild pitch. Jimmy Stenger's chopper over the infield brought him home and gave Cooper a two-run cushion.
Dylan Adams drew a walk to lead off the seventh for Bishop Guilfoyle, but Cooper retired Cursio and Irwin to bring up Pugh. McCort opted to intentionally walk BG's slugger to bring up Keller, who already had two hits in the game. Keller worked the count to 3-1 but popped out to short on a full-count pitch to end the game.
"I'm sure if the next guy up would have laced one in the gap, all the fans would have booed me," Pfeil said. "Our staff decided we'd just rather face the kid behind him, even though he was having a great day. There's no sense in throwing to [Pugh] and letting him hit one out of the ballpark."
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (1): Irwin 2b 400, Pugh p 201, Litzinger cr 010, Keller ss 402, Johnson 1b 201, Pleva c 300, Stewart 3b 000, Sweeney dh 300, Krol cf 301, Adams rf 200, Cursio lf 201. Totals - 25-1-6.
BISHOP MCCORT (3): Cooper p 301, Leech lf 312, N. Neiderhiser rf 200, Stenger 1b 301, Sobecky cr-pr 000, Trexler cf 210, Adams 2b 000, Tomkowski dh 210, Varga c 201, E. Neiderhiser 3b 200, Vardian ss 200. Totals - 21-3-5.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bishop Guilfoyle100 000 0-1 6 0
Bishop McCort020 001 X-3 5 0
2B-Keller, Cursio. RBI-Keller, Stenger, Varga, E. Neiderhiser. WP-Cooper. LP-Pugh. SO-Cooper 6, Pugh 6. BB-Cooper 4, Pugh 2.
Umpires: HP-Gary Kost, 1B-Jeff Holter, 2B-Jay Siegal, 3B-Tom Burger.
Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (16-6); Bishop McCort (20-2).