West Snyder walks off on wild pitch

BEAVER SPRINGS – With one out, runners on first and third and the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh, all Ryan Combs needed was a base hit – or a well-hit sacrifice fly – to put the winning run across for West Snyder.

Or maybe not.

As it turned out, all West Snyder needed was Colton Brouse. Brouse, the Selinsgrove pitcher, made what was arguably his first mistake in the Susquehanna Valley American Legion League baseball game Wednesday.

Brouse delivered two low pitches to Combs; the second caromed off the dirt in front of the plate and headed toward the backstop.

Alex Lash raced for home. He scored the winning run, as West Snyder edged Selinsgrove 3-2.

Lash reached on an error to open the frame, then advanced on a Ryan Stuck single. He made it to third on a deep fly out by Bailey Coder, setting up the scenario that pushed the winning run across the plate.

“I don’t think there was a passed ball all night. It was a good time to have the first one,” West Snyder manager Chris Combs said with a chuckle.

In fact, it was more of a pitchers’ duel than a hitting battle, although there were flurries of offense.

In the bottom of the first, West Snyder staked a 1-0 lead when Colton Keister opened the home team’s offensive effort with a solid triple to right, then scored on a Shane Connahan ground out.

In the third, Zach Mast got aboard when he took a pitch, then crossed on another Connahan effort. Mast was set up by a Keister base hit; he and Connahan picked up most of the box score entries for their team in those two frames.

But in between, Selinsgrove plated a couple, so the second run only tied it. The visitors’ big inning started with Brouse getting hit by a pitch, then Aidan Greak doubled. Brouse scored when Ryan Wagner reached on an error; Greak got a free pass when West Snyder pitcher Nick Lorenz was called for a balk.

That was Lorenz’s worst inning; overall, he kept his team in the game with seven strikeouts and surrendered only two hits.

“Nick was around the plate all night. He threw a very nice game,” Combs said.

Until the seventh, it was just a matter of not being able to hit the ball in the right place to get runners on.

In the fifth, Luke Zimmerman got in scoring position for West Snyder with a single and a sacrifice bunt, but a pair of flies ended that. Selinsgrove’s Greak got to second in the sixth after a single, but with two on, Lorenz fanned Andy Ryan to close the door.

Brouse was just as good for his team until that one pitch, striking out four and not giving up a single walk.

“When they’re not walking guys, they’re not making errors, you hit the ball but it’s tough to score a lot of runs. We did hit the ball, we just couldn’t get a lot of runs across,” Combs said. “They played good defense. We hit some balls hard but ended up hitting it right at them.”

West Snyder hosts Mifflin County in a non-league game Friday.