MC suffers loss, still advances to finals

SOMERSET – While the day may not have ended as the Mifflin County American Legion baseball team would have liked, the end result of a 9-2 win earlier in the day over Unity has the team and manager Larry Wolfe right where they want to be – in the Region 7 finals.

Mifflin County (21-9) was the last standing unbeaten team after downing Unity in Somerset on Tuesday morning, but Central Penn League nemesis Philipsburg ended its hopes of running through the tournament unscathed with a 10-5 loss in the nightcap.

Philipsburg will face Latrobe at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination game to determine Mifflin County’s opponent in the winner-take-all championship game, which will get started half an hour after the first game’s completion.

In the losing contest against Philipsburg, Mifflin County’s offense again struggled to figure out Phils’ pitcher Tanner Perow, who earned a 1-0 win in a Central Penn League playoff contest earlier in the year.

Perow allowed nine hits, all five runs with only two earned, to go along with a walk and a strikeout.

Jacob Larson led the Mifflin County attack by going 3-for-3 in the game with a pair of RBIs, while Hannon had a pair of hits to his credit.

Cy Treaster and Isaac Strohecker added doubles in the loss.

“He mostly throws strikes,” Wolfe said of Perow. “Against him in a nine inning game, if we score six or seven runs we’d be very, very fortunate. He pitched well. He threw strikes and he had a little curveball that kept people off balance, and he kept the top of our lineup off the bases.

“When we get them on, we can run and we can do some things. He just didn’t walk anyone and that makes a big difference.”

Philipsburg broke open a 5-5 contest in the seventh against Mifflin County relief pitcher Logan Swineford.

The Phils tallied four runs in the stanza on three hits, including a two-run double from Wyatt Belinda. Philipsburg ended the contest with 15 hits, six of which were doubles.

“We got behind in the count and threw fat fastballs and they hit them,” Wolfe said. “You have to give them credit – they hit the ball better than we did today.”

However, earlier in the day against Unity, Mifflin County had more success as the locals got on the board with five unearned runs in the third to break a scoreless tie. In the inning, Mifflin County sent 10 batters to the plate and took advantage of a pair of Unity errors, giving Mifflin County pitcher Ross Torquato all the run support he’d need.

Lucas McKay, Hayden Snook, Heath Hidlay and Drew Hannon had two hits apiece in the win with McKay, Hidlay and Hannon all doubling.

“It was a big win this morning,” Wolfe said. “They had one loose inning (defensively), which was the second or third where we put five across. With the way Torquato was pitching, it kind of took the wind out of their sails.”

Torquato scattered 10 hits, didn’t walk anyone and struck out four. McKay added the exclamation point with a three-run home run in the eighth.

“We got a whale of a pitching performance from Ross Torquato and by winning that game this game was essentially meaningless to us. By losing, we only have to play once tomorrow and either one of these two teams has to play twice. I’m not saying I wanted to lose this game.

“Lucas McKay hit a big home run and that basically put the game out of reach for them. It was sort of nice to be in that position,” Wolfe said.