Martin Oil perseveres to earn spot in finals
A lightning delay, a medical delay and two pitchers with more than 100 pitches.
That’s what the situation was late Saturday night at Vets Field as Owen Shaulis slid into the grass in left field for the final out in a 6-4, eight-inning Martin Oil win over Park Home in Game 3 of the best-of-three George B. Kelley Federation semifinals.
Winning pitcher Blake Johnston went the distance for Martin Oil, throwing 149 pitches and 11 strikeouts. Johnston spoke after the game with an ice pack on his shoulder, but he said he never considered leaving the game.
“I wanted it, I’m not going out,” Johnston said. “I told (Martin Oil manager) Brock (Anders), I’m not losing this. Dylan (Young) is not losing this game. I’m losing it by myself if I’m losing it.”
Michael Turiano also had a strong showing in the pitchers’ duel, fanning 11 batters and throwing 136 pitches.
Martin Oil trailed 1-0 after three innings but put two across home plate in the fifth inning, thanks to RBIs from Jake Bollinger and Jake Martin before Park Home scored three of its own in the bottom half of the fifth to re-take the lead.
Johnston said that his hope for a win began to falter, down 4-2 in the seventh inning, but after Turiano walked back-to-back batters, outfielder Joe Dorminy cranked an RBI triple into deep center to score two runs to tie the game at four.
Young and Johnston both scored again in the top of the eighth to put Martin Oil ahead after Johnston got the reigning champs out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Nic Folcarelli.
“I lost a little hope there (in the seventh), but Joe hit that bomb, I said ‘thank God,’ and it just gave us that energy and we just took it home.”
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little surprised,” Anders said after his team pulled off the upset.
And he was more than complimentary of his team after what was a crazy game in extreme heat.
“Just based off of the season we’ve had this year, I told them that was probably the gutsiest performance I’ve seen since I’ve started coaching here. I can’t say enough about Blake Johnston. He wanted the ball, I tried to take it from him, and he wasn’t taking that for an answer,” Anders said.
“Joe came up big there. Owen Shaulis left the game with sickness and came back in. He gets on base and scores the tying run, has a wet towel on his neck and comes out here in left field and made the game-winning play. I can’t say enough about the guys.”
Park Home manager Scott McClellan called his team “a bunch of fighters, for lack of a better phrase.”
McClellan lauded Owen Kravetz, Ian Yon and Zach Kuhns, who played their final game in a Park Home uniform.
“I think we were in it the entire game, which the score reflected,” Kravetz said, “but just some errors and timely things didn’t happen. Errors killed us. It sucks to go out like this, but we were in it the entire time. I can’t be prouder of my team and the effort they gave.”
Yon said the offense came up short to compensate for the errors committed in the field by Park.
“In the end, they just out-played us,” Yon said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever gone to extra innings in a playoff game, and it’s pretty intense.”
Martin Oil advanced to the best-of-five league championship series, which begins tonight at 7 p.m. at Vets Field against top-seeded Tyrone Legion.
MARTIN OIL (6): Kost cf 310, Shaulis lf-rf 211, Martin rf 101, Miller 1b 000, Dorminy lf-rf 403, Guyer c 402, Walekr 1b-3b 400, Young ss 310, Stewart 3b-rf 401, Johnston p 421, Bollinger 2b 411. Totals — 33-6-8.
PARK HOME (4): Kravetz c 421, Yon ss 402, Turiano P 401, Baney 1b 300, Carothers rf 300, Frank ph 000, Freidenberger lf 400, Folcarelli 3b 400, Kuhns cf 311, Savoy 2b 311. Totals — 32-4-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Martin Oil 000 020 22–6 8 0
Park Home 001 030 00–4 6 3
E–Yon, Savoy, Baney. 2B–Turiano, Yon. 3B–Dorminy. RBI–Bollinger, Johnston, Dorminy 2, Martin, Turiano 2, Yon.
Martin Oil: Johnston–8 IP, 149 P, 11 K, 3 BB; Park Home: Turiano–8 IP, 136 P, 11 K, 4 BB. WP–Johnston. LP–Turiano. SO–Johnston 11, Turiano 11. BB–Johnston 3, Turiano 4.