’Cutters get by Spikes in later innings
STATE COLLEGE — When Williamsport and State College get together in a New York-Penn League baseball game, you can expect just about anything to happen.
Thursday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park it was one of those nights as the Crosscutters prevailed 5-3 over the Spikes in the Sawbuck Series contest.
The first four innings featured a lot of action, both good and bad. Through the next four innings, the bullpens of both clubs settled things down, Williamsport scoring the only run over the final five frames for the 5-3 win.
“The guys out of the bullpen came in and did a real nice job,” Cutters manager Pat Borders said. “They slowed down their runners and we had a couple of errors that helped them out in the one inning. Overall I liked the way our pitchers performed, especially out of the bullpen and our hitters didn’t give away any at-bats.”
The Cutters outhit their hosts by a 14-7 spread, getting three hits each from Jake Holmes, Jonathan Guzman and Keudy Bocio.
“They brought their bats with them tonight and they have done that all year,” Borders said. “We very seldom give away at-bats when we go up there (to the plate) regardless of what the score is. We don’t go up there trying to hit a home run every time, but rather we try to do what we are capable of doing, whatever that might be.”
If there was a down side to the win, it was that Spike pitchers struck out Williamsport hitters 10 times.
“Strikeouts are part of the game, part of the development aspect of the game,” Borders said. “Knowing yourself, having a plan and despite striking out that many times, fourteen times our plan was correct.”
As for giving up big hits early, Spikes manager Joe Kruzel felt it was a matter of his pitcher leaving pitches up in the zone.
“I think our biggest problem early was that (Spikes starting pitcher Diego) Cordero had some pitches up in the zone where he ended up giving up some extra-base hits,” Kruzel said. “We were able to fight back with (Brady) Whalen getting the solo home run in the second, Espinal drove in a run in the third and then we took advantage of a couple errors in the fourth to get back to within one. We had some other opportunities throughout the game that we didn’t capitalize on, but by the same token, (Winston) Nicacio and (Edgar) Gonzalez did a good job of keeping the score where it was, giving us a chance to win the game.”
Nicacio pitched his way into and out of a jam in the sixth when the Cutters had runners on first and third with nobody out.
“He (Nicacio) did an outstanding job pitching his way out of trouble,” Kruzel said. “He struck a guy out, (Alexis) Wilson picked a guy off and he got another strikeout to get out of the inning without them scoring. That was huge. But the bottom line is that tonight we couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it to put more runs on the board.”
The Cutters drew first blood in the second inning and they did it with a little two-out lightning.
Jonathan Guzman singled to left, Matt Kroon worked Cordero for a free pass and Keudy Bocio plated Guzman with a RBI single to left.
The Cutter lead was short-lived as Brady Whalen led off the bottom of the second with a 370-foot blast into the right field bleachers for a solo home run.
Just as the 1-0 Cutter was short-lived, so was the 1-1 deadlock as Ben Pelletier hit a 412-foot moon shot to left for a solo home run and a 2-1 Williamsport lead. But hold the phone because the scoring pendulum swung back in favor of State College as Wadye Ynfante walked, Nick Dunn singled to center and Stanley Espinal drove Ynfante in with an RBI single to deep short.
In the fourth the Cutters combined doubles by Ben Aklinski and Guzman with singles from Holmes and Bocio that produced a crooked number for a 4-2 lead.
Down by 2, the Spikes took advantage of a pair of Cutter errors to cut their deficit in half after four complete innings.
For the next four innings, things settled down into scoreless baseball by both teams until the Cutters tallied an insurance run in the ninth on singles by Holmes and Pelletier followed by an RBI single to center by Jesse Wilkening.
State College holds 4-3 edge in the Sawbuck Series with a rematch tonight at Medlar Field. The Cutters will go with Manuel Silva (1-3, 2.91) while the Spikes will counter with Jacob Schlesener (2-3, 3.09).