Bearcats roll to easy win over P-O

HUNTINGDON — After losing two close games to Huntingdon this season, the Philipsburg-Osceola baseball team was hoping to make the third time the charm. But the Bearcats showed why they are the top-seed in the District 6 3A playoffs, collecting 12 hits in an 11-1 victory in five innings on Tuesday afternoon at Langdon Goodale Field on the campus on Juniata College.

“Unfortunately, I think we have lost to the state champion last year and this year,” P-O coach Doug Sankey said. “This is the best team we have faced all year. We lost to Central last year and they were the best team we played all year.”

Philipsburg-Osceola sent freshman Ryan Whitehead to the mound for the quarterfinal matchup. Both Josh Earnest and Gage Coudriet threw solid games against the Bearcats last week.

“It’s tough to have to come down here and play. We played (Monday) and that was a big win. But I think this is like 14 games in 13 days. It’s a tough spot to be in, but there were a couple of games early in the season that cost us a seed. You don’t want to be the ninth seed. Two more wins and we are in a different bracket.”

The Mounties took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Ryan Kephart reached on a walk before moving to second on a stolen base. Earnest stroked a two-out double to plate him, but was left stranded after Bearcat starter Jack Ritchey struck out the next batter.

Huntingdon got the runs right back in the bottom of the first as Nick Zanic reached on a walk. Nick Holesa singled to move Zanic to third. A sacrifice fly by Jared Showalter scored Zanic, while Holesa came home on a single by Alex Mykut.

“We know Philipsburg well. We played them two tight ballgames last week and you always worry, especially because they are so well-coached, but we knew we had a little advantage because they played Monday,” Huntingdon coach George Zanic said.

Huntingdon added another run in the bottom of the second as Rece Ritchey drew a two-out walk. He stole second before coming home on a double by Zanic to make it 3-0.

“Our first four batters in the lineup each had two hits, and they’re all seniors,” coach Zanic said. “They did the job and they put the game out of doubt quickly.”

Huntingdon added three more runs in the third before putting up a two-spot in the fourth. Showalter had a 400-foot-plus home run over the center field fence.

“That put the game out of reach,” coach Zanic said of the Showalter bomb.

Meanwhile, Jack Ritchey continued to mow down Mountie batters, allowing just two extra base hits in the game — both doubles. He finished the game at 90 pitches, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out 10.

“This is a tough team,” Sankey said of Huntingdon. “They are some tough outs 1-9. I call the pitches and Trey (Shaw) is calling the pitches and Whitey is trying to execute and every kid in that lineup is a tough out.”

Zanic said Jack Ritchey was a little shaky at the outset but then settled into a groove.

“He took command after that. His fastball command was there all day after that,” he said. “I thought it was very important that we got runs in the first for him when we were down.”

Huntingdon scored three runs to invoke the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth off reliever Bubba Slogosky.

“Their pitching is amazing,” Sankey said. “They threw Jackson who throws mid 80s and has a great breaking ball. We saw the other Ritchey and Mykut. And we didn’t even see Showalter yet. They are going to be tough to beat.”

Rece Ritchey singled to start the inning, followed by a single from Zanic. Holesa drew a walk to load the bases before Ritchey came home on a single by Showalter. Zanic was plated on an RBI groundout by Mykut before Holesa scored on a wild pitch to end the game and set the final at 11-1.

Earnest and Coudriet each had two hits, including a double to lead the Mounties.

Philipsburg-Osceola finished the season at 10-10. It was the last game for seniors Hunter Ammerman, Josh Bryan, Coudriet, Earnest, Brandon Kephart and Riley Phillips.

Showalter had two hits and knocked in three runs for Huntingdon, while Mykut had two hits and two RBIs. Zanic also had two hits and scored twice, as did Holesa.

The Bearcats improved to 18-1 overall. Huntingdon faces Penn Cambria, a 4-1 winner over Ligonier Valley, at Juniata College this Friday or in the next round.

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (1): Kephart ss 2100, McDonald lf 3000, Soltis 3b 2000, Earnest 2b 3021, Whitehead p 0000, Slogosky p 0000, Dixon dh 3000, Shaw c 2000, Coudriet 1b 2020, Martin cf 1000, Ammerman rf 2010. Totals: 20-1-5-1.

HUNTINGDON (11): Zanic 2b 3221, Holesa ss 2220, Showalter rf 3122, Mykut c 4022, Snare cr 0200, Weglarz lf 3111, Fisher 1b 2110, Gearhart 3b 0000, Peck dh 2001, J. Ritchey p 2010, Cook cr 0000, Conner ph 1000, R. Ritchey cf 1211. Totals: 23-11-12-8.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Philipsburg-Osceola 100 00 — 1 5 2

Huntingdon 213 23 — 11 12 1

E–R. Kephart 2; J. Ritchey. 2B–Earnest, Coudriet; Zanic, Holesa, Weglarz, J. Ritchey. HR–Showalter. RBI–Earnest, Zanic, Showalter 2, Mykut 2, Weglarz, Peck, R. Ritchey. WP–J. Richey. LP–Whitehead.

PITCHING

Philipsburg-Osceola: Whitehead-4 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO; Slogosky-1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO. Huntingdon: J. Ritchey-5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO.

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