Defensive woes haunt Huskies in loss

LEWISTOWN – Baseball is an easy game when things fall into place. But, when it doesn’t, it’s as frustrating as trying to eat an ice cream cone on a 90 degree day.

For Mifflin County, the defensive part of the game melted like that ice cream come on a hot summer afternoon on Monday.

In the game, the Huskies committed seven errors and allowed Williamsport to walk home with a 6-5 non-conference win.

Mifflin County coach Travis Zook just shook his head in disbelief at his team’s defensive effort.

“We had some careless play,” Zook said. “We threw the ball around way too much. We talked about focus before the game, we just didn’t do it. Knowing what to do with the ball is something they should know. We had poor decision making, at some point we have to stop throwing the ball (around).”

Mifflin County led 5-2 going into the top of the sixth when its defense fell apart. The Huskies committed three errors in the inning, which helped the Williamsport offense take command of the game.

Williamsport’s Ben Myers led off with a single, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Noah Esposito. Ian Miller reached on an error and Esposito scored when the Huskies made one of their throwing mistakes.

Sam Bubb reached on a base hit and then Owen Lukens rapped a two RBI triple on which he also scored on the bobbled relay throw for the 6-5 lead.

At that point, Zook took out his starting pitcher Rodney Patterson. Logan Swineford entered and finished the inning and the game by retiring the side in the seventh.

But, Patterson deserved a much better fate than he got.

“I thought Rodney pitched great today, but our defense let us down,” Zook noted.

Patterson gave up eight hits, walked no one and struck out four. He hit two batters.

His big moment came in the fifth against Ian Dinsmore, one of the big hitters for Williamsport. With a runner on third and the 3-1 count against Dinsmore, who already had two hits, Patterson served him two curve balls that broke to the outside and Dinsmore went down on strikes.

Mifflin County took an early 1-0 lead as Isaac Strohecker walked, stole second, advanced to third on a Drew Hannon ground out and scored on an error.

Williamsport regained the lead 2-1 in the fourth, but Mifflin County came right back and scored three in the bottom of the inning. Cy Treaster singled and Swineford was sent in as a courtesy runner. He stole second and Isaiah Kearns followed with a walk.

The two runners moved up on a Jacob Larson sacrifice bunt. One out later, Kyle Bodtorf walked to load the bases and then Lucas McKay unloaded on a pitch that went deep to right center. The long drive drove in all three runs. Unfortunately for McKay, he was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.

Mifflin County then stretched the lead to 5-2 in the fifth as Hayden Snook, the team’s designated hitter, led off with a double. Luke Amspacker was sent into pinch run and he scored on a Strohecker single.

But, it was after the Snook smash to right center that Williamsport changed pitchers. Davey Ludwikowski gave way to Kyle Hoover. After the Strohecker hit, Hoover retired the next nine batters to close out the game.

Notes: Today will close out the home schedule for Mifflin County as it hosts, Cedar Cliff at 4:15…Today (4 p.m.) will mark ‘Senior Day’ for the Huskies as they will honor five seniors, Aaron Michaels, Seth Wagner, Rodney Patterson, Cy Treaster and Logan Swineford…There was one defensive highlight for Mifflin County and that occurred in the third when Strohecker (third base) to Kearns (second base) to Drew Hannon (first base) turned a 5-4-3 double play…Mifflin County is now 8-8 overall and 7-7 in the Commonwealth Division with four games remaining in the regular season.