STATE COLLEGE - Monday afternoon, State College sent a message to Central Mountain with a convincing baseball win over the Wildcats.
Three days later, State High might have sent another message, this one to Mifflin County, as the Little Lions downed the Huskies 5-1 in another battle between District 6 Class AAAA teams.
"We play them again right away tomorrow (Friday) so I don't know if it meant sending a message or not," State College coach Bill Tussey said. "I hesitate to say anything about sending a message because the second guy they brought in was a finesse pitcher and we struggled against him. We might see that again tomorrow and that will make for an interesting game. But as for today, we never felt that the game was in doubt."
Tussey also felt that one big key to the win was getting an early lead to force Mifflin County to play from behind.
For Mifflin County, a big factor in the outcome was due to the early mistakes that put them behind the 8-ball.
"It wasn't a bad ball game," Huskies coach Travis Zook said. "Our middle infield made a couple of mistakes on a routine 5-4-3 double play and what hurts is that we make that play 49 out of 50 times, but that was the one time we didn't make it. We also had them hung out to dry on a cutoff play but we made a bad throw home. Giving a team extra outs in a ball game can go a long way in determining the outcome."
IF YOU GO
Mifflin County hosts State College today
Zook had ace Peyton Reesman on the mound, and although he was his own worst enemy by issuing five walks in his three innings, his defense didn't help him.
"He had command issues early and that hurt him," Zook said. "Getting behind in the count and a couple of two-out walks went a long way in his downfall. Our second pitcher (Ross Torquato) did a great job of working ahead and changing speeds to make them hit his pitch. I don't think we played badly today. We stung some balls well but a good number of them were hit right where they were (playing)."
Highlighting the Little Lion win was the outstanding pitching effort by Kyle Peterson as the big righthander allowed just one run while scattering five hits, striking out five. Although Peterson didn't issue a single base on balls, he did hit one MC batter.
"Going into this game we were all psyched because we have developed a little rivalry with Mifflin County," Peterson said. "I was just glad to have the chance to pitch against them here at home. I think that also got my adrenalin flowing a little bit."
The Little Lions are riding a six-game win streak and are currently sporting an overall mark of 13-3. The Huskies have their backs to the wall in terms of qualifying for the upcoming postseason at 8-8, and face this Commonwealth Division opponent again today, albeit in Lewistown.
"Our district has a .500 policy so we still have two more wins we need to get," Zook said. "We have four games left and we see these boys tomorrow (Friday) before playing Monday through Wednesday. We had a stretch where we had nine games in nine days so it has been quite a haul for us. The guys are getting wore down a little bit, but somehow we have to find a way to get it done."