Latrobe puts title out of reach for MC

SOMERSET – When the opposing team scores four runs in the first inning without a ball leaving the infield, you know it’s just not your day.

Add in the fact that your opponent is riding high after a dramatic win, and it has all the makings of a long day at the ballpark.

Unfortunately for the Mifflin County American Legion team, it found this out firsthand against Latrobe, which claimed the Region 7 title with a 12-1 win in seven innings Wednesday.

“The baseball gods were not very good to us today,” Mifflin County manager Larry Wolfe said. “Latrobe played well and deserved to win. They were very high from how they won their first ball game, and we just needed to put a run on the board to take the wind out of their sails, but we just never did that.”

Earlier in the day the Jethawks rallied to defeat Philipsburg, 8-7, with three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and the momentum gained carried over into the first inning against Mifflin County.

After Latrobe pitcher Alec Spangler allowed a leadoff single to Cy Treaster, he settled down and stranded Treaster at third after a bunt from Isaac Strohecker.

Spangler only allowed two hits in the contest, and after the strong start Latrobe didn’t look back, as it sent eight hitters to the plate against Mifflin County starter Lucas McKay, who allowed eight earned runs in four-plus innings of work in the loss.

McKay walked two and hit another, while the Jethawks legged out a pair of infield singles in the frame.

“They got a couple, but there was a play or two that we probably should have made. We had a runner on third with one out and if we put the ball in play, other than popping it up, we score a run. That probably changes some of the complexion of the game,” Wolfe said.

Latrobe tacked on another in the second, but really broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth with four more.

McKay allowed four-straight hits and was lifted for Heath Hidlay, who limited the damage in retiring three of the four hitters he faced in the frame.

Latrobe posted three against Hidlay in the sixth to make it a 12-0 contest.

Logan Swineford belted a solo home run in the seventh to account for Mifflin County’s lone tally.

“Up until the fifth or sixth inning I’m not sure they pummelled the ball or anything like that.” Wolfe said. “It was just one of those days. Some days you’re the windshield and other days you’re the bug.”

Swineford’s blast was the first hit Spangler allowed since Treaster’s double to lead off the contest.

The Latrobe hurler walked three and struck out three, as he was able to keep Mifflin County off balance with a variety of offspeed pitches.

“We’ve had fits with that style of pitching all year,” Wolfe said. “He had a good changeup or a good curveball, I’m not sure which. He changed speeds effectively and we just didn’t get hits when we needed them. We had runners in scoring position the first four innings, but we just couldn’t get a hit to get them in.”

Latrobe’s win qualified it for the state tournament, which will get underway on Tuesday in Boyertown.

Mifflin County, which loses just three players next season, ended the year with a 21-10 record.

“We had a great year,” Wolfe said. “I’m very proud of the kids. We’re very young. Other than Somerset, the host team, we were probably the youngest team here. We played very well and I’m not upset at all.”