Gority helps Park rally for victory
By Jon Fleck
For the Mirror
Park Home first baseman John Gority dropped an easy throw in the first inning of Game 1 of the George B. Kelley Federation championship series against Martin Oil, costing his team two runs Thursday night.
For five innings, it looked like that play may cost Park dearly as Martin Oil held a 3-1 lead. Pitcher Blake Johnston had retired 13 straight batters after giving up a run in the top of the first.
However, Park rallied for two in the sixth and three more in the seventh for a 6-3 win Wednesday at Vets Field and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
“It was pretty devastating,” Gority said of the first-inning error. “I was thinking it’s going to be a long game, but I was able to turn it around pretty quick.”
Gority knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and his single in the seventh brought home the go-ahead run.
“It feels pretty good to come through like that,” Gority said. “We were confident we would get our chances, and we were able to come together as a team to get it done. We’re having fun. A lot of things are working really well for us right now.”
Cole Gibson, pitching for the first time in a while due to a thumb injury, held Martin Oil to just one earned run in 41/3 innings. Martin Oil had Gibson on the ropes throughout the game, but the right-hander wiggled out of every jam.
“I knew they’d hit the ball. It’s my job to get them to hit in the right place and limit their runs. Our defense came up with some big plays,” Gibson said.
Ian Yon relieved Gibson in the fifth and set down eight straight batters, striking out five, to get the win.
Casey Sheetz led off the sixth with a single and went to third on an Owen Kravetz single. After Kravetz stole second, Gority’s flyout scored Sheetz to make it a 3-2 game. Jake Plunket tied the game at 3-3 with a single to center that brought home Kravetz.
Sheetz started the game-winning rally with a one-out walk in the seventh. After Kravetz walked too, Gority singled to right past first baseman Joe Padula to make it a 4-3 game.
Kravetz and Gority both scored on wild pitches, giving Park a pair of insurance runs heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Martin Oil had 12 hits but left 10 runners on base through the first five innings. The Bellwood team left the bases loaded in both the third and fifth innings.
“Missed opportunities. We were one hit away from breaking the game open,” Martin Oil coach Brock Anders said. “We’re down 1-0, but we still have a lot of confidence. I told the kids they have two options. Put their heads down or come out and play hard.”
Game 2 is 7 p.m. this evening at Vets Field. An awards ceremony recognizing outstanding individual players from the season as whole will be held prior to the game.
PARK HOME (6): Sheetz ss 321, Kravetz c 231, Gority 1b 312, Plunket rf 301, Yon 3b-p 402, Benton lf 300, Gibson p 000, Folcarelli dh 200, Georgiana 3b 200, Wike 2b 300, Miller cf 300. TOTALS – 26 6 7.
MARTIN OIL (3): Kowalski cf 401, McFarland lf-ss 310, Padula 1b 412, Wood ss-p 400, Showalter c 302, Shaulis cr 000, Burns 3b 402, Johnston p 000, Stewart p 000, Akers dh 401, Walker rf 313, Schmoke 2b 301. TOTALS 32 3 12.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Park Home 100 002 3–6 7 2
Martin Oil 210 000 0–3 12 2
E–Gority, Sheetz, Burns, Schmoke. RBI–Yon, Gority 2, Plunket. WP–Yon. LP–Stewart. SO–Gibson 3, Yon 5, Johnston 1, Stewart 2, Wood 2. BB–Gibson 1, Stewart 2, Wood 1.
Park Home leads best-of-five series 1-0.