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The Elk County Catholic Crusaders picked up an 11-2 senior night victory over the Curwensville Golden Tide on Tuesday afternoon at Berwind Park in St. Marys.
"The sticks were alive tonight," said ECC coach Tom Zampogna. "They hit the ball very well, probably the best they've hit the baseball all year. Defensively, they played heads up. They played a good defensive game."
The Crusaders had at total of 12 hits in the contest, led by senior Pat Brennen with a trio of singles. Dan Singer and Jack Herzing each had a pair of singles. Vincent Jacob and Brock McCullough both doubled; and Shea Meyer, Ivan Wortman, and Ben Cortina all singled.
Curwensville recorded five hits, led by Kyle Bloom with a pair of singles. Jason Bloom doubled, and Jesse Zorger and Jordan Russell both singled.
Joe Childs started on the mound for ECC, working four innings and giving up four hits, walking one, and striking out six. Jack Herzing worked the next two innings, walking one and striking out two. Brandon Schlimm took over on the mound for the final inning, giving up one hit while striking out two.
"All three kids that pitched-- Joe Childs, Jack, and Brandon-- all pitched very well tonight," Zampogna said.
Kyle Johns started on the mound for Curwensville and worked four and one-third innings, giving up nine hits, walking two, and striking out three.
All three of Elk Catholic's seniors played a role in the Crusaders' victory, and Zampogna credited them for their contributions to the team throughout the season.
"Joe Childs is a senior this year and he really came on strong the second half of the year as a pitcher. He really developed into a team leader. Bryan Haberberger, even though he didn't start in a position, he was very supportive. He helped the kids out throughout the entire year. Pat Brennen, God bless him, he had a sore arm all year. His arm could barely throw a ball from second base to first base. Despite all the adversity, he came on strong and ended up being a really good offensive player for us," Zampogna said.
In the top of the first inning, Childs struck out Curwensville's lead-off batter, Tanner Elensky. Kyle Bloom hit a nice shot deep between center and right field, but tried to pick up an extra base on the play and was thrown out at second. Boone McGary grounded to Childs and was thrown out at first to keep the Golden Tide off the board. Pat Brennen singled to start off the home half of the inning for the Crusaders and advanced on a fielder's choice that saw Brock McCullough thrown out at first. Brennen picked up another base as Dan Singer was also thrown out at first on a fielder's choice, but was unable to score as Ivan Wortman flied out to right field to end the inning.
Jesse Zorger singled to start off the second inning for Curwensville, but was left stranded as the next three batters went down in order. ECC recorded their first runs of the contest in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Jack Herzing singled and scored on a double by Vincent Jacob. Jacob went on to score on a single by Ben Cortina. Cortina was left on base as the next two batters both flied out to center field, making ECC's advantage 2-0 headed into the third inning.
Curwensville's batters went down in order in the top of the third, while ECC added another run in their half of the inning. McCullough struck out but reached base on a dropped third strike and later stole second. With one out, Ivan Wortman singled, allowing McCullough to score. Wortman tried to pick up an extra base on the play but was thrown out at second. Joe McLaughlin grounded to the third baseman and could not beat the throw to first, ending the inning with the Crusaders holding on to a 3-0 lead.
Curwensville would score their only runs of the contest in the top of the fourth. Kyle Bloom singled and advanced as McGary walked. With one out, Jake Stiles reached on an error to load the bases for the Golden Tide. With two outs, Jason Bloom hit a double, scoring Andy Holt, who was courtesy running for Kyle Bloom, and McGary, and cutting ECC's lead to 3-2. The Crusaders went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
After the Golden Tide went down in order in the top of the fifth, Elk Catholic used a strong home half of the inning to score seven more runs and ensure their victory. With one out, Brennen singled and scored on a double by McCullough. Singer singled, scoring McCullough. Wortman reached base on a fielder's choice that also saw Singer safe at second. McLaughlin walked to load the bases, and Singer and Wortman scored on a single by Herzing, who also picked up an extra base on an error. Jacob walked to once again load the bases and, after Johns threw two balls to Cortina, Curwensville decided to change pitchers. Curt Bloom took over on the mound and walked Cortina, scoring McLaughlin. Haberberger flied out to center field for the second out of the inning, but allowing Herzing to score in the process. Another single by Brennen scored Jacob, giving the Crusaders a 10-2 lead.
Curwensville tried to cut into ECC's advantage in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Stiles walked and advanced to second as Brad Coudriet reached base on an error. Stiles tried to make it home on a fielder's choice by Brett Gardner, but was unable to beat the throw and was tagged out by ECC catcher McLaughlin. The Crusaders scored their final run of the contest in the bottom of the inning. Singer singled and advanced on a single by Shea Meyer. With one out, Herzing walked but was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice that saw Mitchell O'Neill reach first and Singer score, giving the Crusaders an 11-2 lead.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Russell singled, but was left stranded as the next two batters went down in order, giving ECC the 11-2 win.
Senior players and their parents were honored during a brief ceremony prior to the start of the game.
The Crusaders are now 13-5 and will be back in action on Friday evening when they are on the road against St. Marys Area at Berwind Park. The junior varsity contest is scheduled for 4 p.m., with the varsity game to follow.
Tanner Elensky 3-0-0, Andy Holt 1-1-0, Kyle Bloom 4-0-2, Boone McGary 2-1-0, Jesse Zorger 1-0-1, Curt Bloom 1-0-0, Todd Munchak 1-0-0, Jake Stiles 2-0-0, Hunter McCracken 0-0-0, Kyle Johns 2-0-0, Brad Coudriet 1-0-0, Brett Gardner 1-0-0, Jason Bloom 2-0-1, Alex Holland 3-0-0, Jordan Russell 3-0-1. Totals 27-2-5.
Elk Catholic 11
Joe Childs 0-0-0, Pat Brennen 4-1-3, Brock McCullough 3-2-1, Wes Brennen 1-0-0, Dan Singer 4-2-2, Ivan Wortman 3-1-1, Shea Meyer 1-0-1, Joe McLaughlin 3-1-0, Jack Herzing 3-2-2, Vincent Jacob 2-2-1, Mitchell O'Neill 1-0-0, Ben Cortina 3-0-1, Bryan Haberberger 3-0-0. Totals 31-11-12.
Score by innings R
Curwensville 000 200 0 2
ECCHS 021 071 x 11