JERSEY SHORE - Colton Potter's two-run rocket to right field won Jersey Shore the game.
Yet, you can't put a value on how important Kaiden Brungard's bunt was just one batter prior.
"Kaiden did his job, and I knew that I had to do mine," Potter said.
Central Mountain’s Kyle McGregor forces Jersey?Shore’s Ryan Koch out at third yesterday in Lycoming County. Shore beat CM,?4-3.
One swing later, and the Bulldogs were in the driver's seat as Potter's two-run double scored Ryan Huling and Blake Musser, and Tellef Notevarp retired the side in the seventh as Shore pulled out a 4-3 win over Central Mountain yesterday in non-league baseball action.
"My job was to hit the ball to the right side, and he let a fastball up in the zone and I just drove it that way," Potter said. "It was a nice hit that came off the bat real good. I was working on keeping my hands inside the ball, and I did that."
It's amazing what one play can signify.
"We've been struggling with getting those bunts down all year," Shore manager Matt O'Brien said. "Kaiden is actually one of our leading hitters, but we wanted to move those runners around and he did a nice job of getting them down. That was key to the inning. The little things are so important throughout the season."
Brungard's bunt was perfectly placed that both runners were able to advance with no problems.
Last week, that trickler probably catches the dirt and rolls into foul territory after two one-run losses to Williamsport and Milton, respectively.
"Last week was tough, but the kids were ready to play today," O'Brien said. "We got into them a little over the weekend. They had a great attitude, and I think last week left a bitter taste in their mouth.
"We have all the talent in the world, and a team of good kids. But we have a tendency of beating ourselves at times."
While O'Brien saw how his Bulldogs responded yesterday, Mike Kramer will find out Friday.
The loss was the Wildcats' first of 2012.
"We are going to be facing a lot of good teams in the next few weeks, and Jersey Shore has a nice ballclub," Kramer said. "If you look back on the game, I think some of our mistakes put them in positions to capitalize."
Central Mountain (8-1) had the momentum.
With the game knotted at 2 in the sixth, Cayden Stover drilled a shot from Notevarp that sailed over the outstretched glove of the left fielder and all the way to the fence for the one-out triple. Courtesy runner Drew Nyman, in for Stover, later scored on Von Walker's third single of the game, giving the Bald Eagle Township boys a 3-2 lead.
Shore didn't wait long to respond.
Huling drew a four-pitch walk from Stover, and Musser roped a seeing-eye single to left field, putting two on with no outs.
Kramer called to the bullpen for Walker, who already has multiple saves on the year. But Brungard's bunt moved the runners over, and Potter's game-winning double gave the 'Dawgs their first lead of the game, 4-3.
"He was in a situation where there was a lot of pressure and he came through for them," Kramer said of Potter's hit. "It was a good ballgame, but we made a few mistakes that they took advantage of. It gave them some good chances and opportunities. We have to limit them in future games, and learn from them."
Central Mountain wasted little time jumping all over Notevarp.
Luke Wise led off the game with a single to right, and scored one batter later as Stover drilled the ball near the right-field line. The outfield dove to make a play, but missed the ball. Wise scored all the way from first for the early, 1-0 lead.
CM managed seven hits off Notevarp, Shore's ace, although the senior did strike out six without issuing a walk.
"I wasn't surprised to see them hit because it looked like Central Mountain has been scoring like 16 runs per game," O'Brien said. "When I was watching them during batting practice, I knew that they were going to hit and put people in motion. It's great to have Tellef on the mound. He moves to 4-0 for a reason. He works quick, and pounds the strike zone, which is key for our defense behind him."
Stover, a sophomore, held strong against the powerful Bulldogs.
He allowed seven hits in five innings of work, and did a nice job of battling out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and another spot in the fifth.
"I'm proud of Cayden. He came right at them," Kramer said. "He had confidence in his pitches, and he battled through some tough situations that he could have fell apart. I'm pleased with his effort."
Potter, Ryan Koch and Musser each had two hits for Shore.
"As the game went along, we had better at-bats," O'Brien said. "We wanted to work counts and get into some hitter's counts. We've been in a lot of close games. Both of our losses were one-run games, so we've been in this situation before. We've already had a lot of battles.
"Our league is tough, but it's good to get that difficult non-conference schedule, too. We have four Quad-A schools on it. A game like this will make us better."
Both teams are back in action Friday. CM travels to Mifflin County, while Shore hosts Hughesville.
JERSEY SHORE 4,
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 3
CM100 101 0 - 3 7 3
JS 000 202 x - 4 8 0
CM: Cayden Stover, Von Walker (6) and Ryan Hill. JS: Tellef Notevarp and Ryan Koch. WP - Notevarp. LP - Stover. 3B: CM, Stover. 2B: CM, Stover. JS, Colton Potter, Blake Musser. MH: CM, Von Walker 3, Stover 2. JS, Potter 2, Koch 2, Musser 2. Records: CM 8-1, JS 8-2.