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The St. Marys American Legion Post 103 baseball squad ended their regular season with a 10-1 victory over Smethport on Saturday evening at Berwind Park in St. Marys. Some early Fourth of July celebrations in the neighborhood added to the celebratory atmosphere for the Post 103 squad as they took the early lead and never looked back, finishing their season with an 11-3 record and securing the second seed in the Elk County League playoffs behind undefeated Wilcox.
"Our hitting came through tonight," said St. Marys coach Fran Pasi. "I thought the kids played a good ball game defensively. Smethport beat us last time when we went up there, so it was a good victory for us."
Mitch Meyer went the distance on the mound for St. Marys, giving up five hits, walking five, and striking out six.
"I thought Mitch Meyer pitched a real good ball game tonight. He said he was ready to pitch, and he was. It was a nice game," Pasi said.
Ryan Corbett started on the mound for Smethport, working three innings and giving up two hits, walking four, and striking out two. Zach Smith took over for two innings, giving up two hits, walking one, and striking out one. Jory Okerlund worked the final inning, giving up six hits while striking out two.
St. Marys had a total of 10 hits in the contest, led by Ryan Uhl and Kevin Hoy, who each had a pair of singles. Dan Singer had an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the fifth. Mitch Meyer doubled, and Ivan Wortman, Rudy Gleixner, Nick Burdick, and Luke Newhouse each singled.
Smethport had five hits, led by Tony Farrell with a pair of doubles. Zach Smith, Al Myers, and Tyler Buccholz each singled.
Smethport's Ryan Nielsen grounded out to the second basemen to start off the top of the first inning. Smethport then put a pair of runners on base as Kenny Doutt walked and advanced to second on a single by Zach Smith. The Smethport squad was unable to score, though, as Jory Okerlund hit into a double play to St. Marys' third baseman Ryan Uhl, who tagged the base to take out Doutt and then threw to beat Okerlund to first for the third out. St. Marys scored their first two runs in the home half of the inning. Mitch Meyer led off with a walk and was almost out at second on a fielder's choice that saw Dan Singer reach first. The umpires ruled that Meyer was in fact safe though, giving St. Marys a pair of base runners. With Ryan Uhl up to bat, both Meyer and Singer picked up another base on a passed ball, and both also went on to score as Uhl singled to right. A single by Kevin Hoy sent Uhl to second, and Uhl picked up another base to put runners on the corners for Post 103 as Ivan Wortman flied out to right field. St. Marys was unable to keep their momentum going, though, as Vincent Jacob hit into a double play where Hoy was called out at second due to runner's interference, and Jacob was unable to beat the throw to first, ending the inning with St. Marys up 2-0.
Smethport cut into St. Marys' lead in the top of the second as they scored what would be their only run of the contest. Tony Farrell led off with a double to right field and later picked up another base on a passed ball. Farrell scored as Al Myers singled to left, making the score 2-1. Myers was replaced by courtesy runner Nate Becker, who was left stranded as the next three batters went down in order. St. Marys left a runner stranded in the bottom of the inning, which ended with another double play. With one out, Nick Burdick and Shea Meyer both walked. Mitch Meyer grounded to the second baseman, who tagged Shea Meyer and then made the throw to first to take out Mitch Meyer for the third out.
Smethport was unable to score in the top of the third, leaving Smith stranded, and St. Marys slowly began to add to their lead in the bottom of the inning. Singer led off with a walk and, with Uhl up to bat, tried to steal second. The throw from Smethport's catcher was off, leaving several Smethport players to chase the ball down in the outfield while Singer made it all the way home to give St. Marys a 3-1 advantage.
Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth inning.
Smethport left a pair of runners on base in the top of the fifth, and St. Marys padded their lead with two more runs in the home half of the inning. Mitch Meyer reached base on an error and scored as Singer hit an inside-the-park home run to make the score 5-1.
Smethport again left a runner on base in the top of the sixth, and St. Marys took advantage of a pitching change in the bottom of the inning to score their final five runs. With Jory Okerlund now on the mound for Smethport, Rudy Gleixner led off with a single and advanced to third on a single by Luke Newhouse. With Jon Dippold up to bat, Newhouse stole second, putting both him and Gleixner in scoring position. Dippold struck out for St. Marys' first out of the inning, but then Mitch Meyer doubled to left field, scoring both Gleixner and Newhouse. Singer reached base on a fielder's choice that saw Meyer thrown out at third. Singer advanced to second on a passed ball and then made it to third on a single by Uhl. Hoy singled and made it to second on an error on the play as both Singer and Uhl scored. A single by Wortman scored Hoy and Wortman was left at first as Jacob struck out to end the inning with St. Marys now ahead 10-1.
Smethport tried for a rally in the top of the seventh as Tyler Buccholz led off with a single, but Alex Ball hit into a double play by grounding to Meyer, who threw to the shortstop to take out Buccholz, and then the ensuing throw also beat Ball to first. Nate Becker then struck out looking to end the game and give St. Marys the 10-1 victory.
As the second seed in the Elk County League playoffs, St. Marys will have a first-round bye and will face the winner of a match-up between Bradford and Port Allegany on Monday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Berwind Park.
While Pasi remarked that the victory was a good way for his squad to end their regular season, he indicated that the week-long break between now and his squad's next game might do them more harm than good.
"We'll see how it starts with playoffs next week, but this week layoff might be hurting us more than helping us right now because we seem to be hot," Pasi said. "We'll see how it goes."
Ryan Nielsen 2-0-0, Nate Becker 1-0-0, Kenny Doutt 1-0-0, Zach Smith 2-0-1, Jory Okerlund 3-0-0, Tony Farrell 3-1-2, Al Myers 2-0-1, Dustin Zetwick 3-0-0, Nate Wilber 2-0-0, Tyler Buccholz 1-0-1, Ryan Corbett 2-0-0, Alex Ball 1-0-0. Totals 23-1-5.
St. Marys 10
Mitch Meyer 3-2-1, Dan Singer 3-4-1, Ryan Uhl 4-1-2, Kevin Hoy 3-1-2, Ivan Wortman 4-0-1, Vincent Jacob 4-0-0, Rudy Gleixner 3-1-1, Nick Burdick 1-0-1, Luke Newhouse 1-1-1, Shea Meyer 1-0-0, Jon Dippold 1-0-0. Totals 28-10-10.
Score by innings R
Smethport 010 000 0 1
St. Marys 201 025 x 10