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The little things aid Dragons in victory

MARTINSBURG — Devon Boyles provided the flashy plays Tuesday in Central’s key 10-2 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola with a home run, double, single and four RBIs, but Scarlet Dragons coach A.J. Hoenstine was fixated on an at bat by Tanner Hall that many who attended the game probably don’t even remember.

Hall led off the bottom of the second inning with an 11-pitch at bat, working the count full and fouling off five pitches, before he was hit by a pitch to start a three-run outburst. Hall’s plate appearance helped wear down Mounties star senior starter Ryan Whitehead and eventually led to him being forced out of the game with 90 pitches in just four innings.

“The highlight might be Devon Boyles’ home run, but the kids know when you’re facing a quality pitcher like Whitehead, at bats like Tanner Hall’s helps you win big games and helps you win championships,” Hoenstine said. “There’s a lot of guys making a lot of money telling kids to try and hit home runs every time up, but with two strikes, we’re trying to put the ball in play. These guys buy into that for the most part. We usually get better at it as the year goes on, and to win high school baseball games, you need to put the ball in play.”

Hall also singled on an 0-2 count during another three-run rally in the third inning.

“We like to do the small things right, and doing the small things right wins baseball games,” Hall said. “That’s what we like to do. Whitehead is a really good pitcher, so we knew we had to get the ball in play and work the counts up, and that’s what we did.”

Philipsburg-Osceola, which entered the game at 6-0, had runners on throughout the game but struggled with what Central excelled at — putting the ball in play. Scarlet Dragons starting pitcher Jonah Snowberger struck out 11 batters in 5• innings.

“They played well, and they hit the ball well against Ryan,” Philipsburg-Osceola coach Doug Sankey said. “He had trouble with his curveball, and they jumped on his fastball. They put good swings on him. When you think about Central, they are always so good with two strikes. Those guys battle, and that gets the pitch count up.”

The Mounties got two hits and an RBI from Nathan Gustkey.

Boyles hit his solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, and Central (8-1) got two more runs when Whitehead’s throw to first after a sharp grounder back to the mound with two outs was off line. Sankey said he didn’t think the play shook up Whitehead, but he again credited Central’s approach at the plate that made his starter’s afternoon a short one.

“It’s a big win,” Hoenstine said. “We don’t like to lose at our place, because it’s so tough to win on the road in the Mountain League against anybody.”

Central and P-O will have to continue to excel against top pitching as the District 6 playoff schedule, sent out Tuesday to the coaches, is more spread out this season.

“The dates are so spread out. You are going to face everyone’s No. 1 in the first round, the second round and the finals if you get that far,” Sankey said. “It’s not going to be a Monday-Thursday situation where you have to use two guys and might have to throw your third or fourth. It’s going to be different, for sure. In 3A, (Central) has two great pitchers. Tyrone has two good pitchers. Bald Eagle has two good pitchers, and (Jack) Luensmann is really good for Bellwood. It’s going to be good baseball. That’s for sure.”

Hoenstine also noticed the change but is hoping his team’s continued improvement, along with the possible return of sophomore Jeff Hoenstine from injury, pays off in the postseason.

“The District 6 playoff schedule came out, and it’s a little different and interesting,” Hoenstine said. “Triple-A is going to have eight really good teams with a lot of really good arms, so we have to be ready to find a way to score some runs. I like the way our team is coming along, and we’re hoping to get Jeff back here in a couple of weeks, and he could add to it. These kids are working hard every week to get better, and that’s what we preach to them from the start.”

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (2): DeSimone cf 400, White ss 400, Gustkey c 402, J. Whitehead lf 401, Wildman 3b 301, Meersand rf 201, R. Whitehead p 200, Emigh p 000, Pellerite 1b 211, Coudriet 2b 311. Totals–28-2-7.

CENTRAL (10): P. Kling ss 411, Klotz c 201, Veckov cr 020, Boyles 3b 413, Smith 1b 411, J. Snowberger p-1b 402, Metzger cr-lf 010, Helsel cf-p 300, Detwiler ph 100, Gregg lf-cf 210, Oakes ph 100, Ebersole 2b 000, Hall dh 221, L. Kling rf 311. Totals–30-10-10.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Philipsburg-Osceola 002 000 0–2 7 2

Central 333 010 X–10 10 1

E–R. Whitehead, White, P. Kling. 2B–Pellerite, Wildman, Boyles. HR–Boyles. RBI–Gustkey, Coudriet, Boyles 4, L. Kling, P. Kling.

PITCHING

Philipsburg-Osceola: R. Whitehead (L)–4IP, 9H, 6K, 1BB, 2HBP, 9R, 4ER, 90 pitches; Emigh–2IP, 1H, 2K, 1BB, 1R, 1ER, 32 pitches.

Central: J. Snowberger (W)–5•IP, 7H, 11K, 3BB, 2R, 1ER, 100 pitches; Helsel–1ªIP, 0H, 1K, 0BB, 0R, 0ER, 20 pitches.

Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (6-1); Central (8-1).

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