Baseball: Bellefonte Red Raiders out-work CM Wildcats at home, 4-1
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Express Sports Writer
BELLEFONTE — Although the two teams are in the same district, but play in different classifications as well as in different leagues, the Central Mountain versus Bellefonte baseball game gives the two coaching staffs a chance to evaluate how their team might fare against solid opposition in the postseason.
In their meeting Monday afternoon, for all intents and purposes, it only took one inning to decide the issue as the Red Raiders batted around in the bottom of the fourth to score three runs for a 4-0 lead en route to a 4-1 win over the Wildcats.
For the game, CM pitching issued six walks, hit one Raider batter, but the dark side of the contest for the ‘Cats saw them commit two of their three errors in the game in the costly fourth inning.
“They definitely capitalized on some free bases and on our mistakes,” said Central Mountain head coach Mike Kramer. “We kind of pride ourselves on solid pitching and playing solid defense, and today the defense let us down. When they scored their three runs, it came off of our mistakes and free bases.”
Raider head coach Jon Clark agreed that the key to his team getting the win was its ability to take advantage of the Central Mountain mistakes.
“When you get into games like this, one where one team gives the other team an edge with one or two miscues, those things are going to catch up with you,” said Clark. “We have been on the other side of those things that happened today, but give them credit because they are a good, well-coached ball club. We like playing them because they are right down the road from us and they are always a playoff-type team. We made our share of mistakes today, but thankfully they didn’t bite us in the same way as their mistakes did to them.”
Despite the number of walks, both starting pitchers, Central Mountain’s Aidan Major and Red Raider Ashton Wetzler, worked their way into and out of trouble throughout the game.
“I feel we had another great outing from our pitchers,” said Kramer. “They pitched well enough for us to win most games. Another thing we have to do is a better job at the plate. We are getting runners in scoring position, but we aren’t putting the ball in play or getting that clutch hit. If we are going to be able to rack up bigger scores our situational hitting definitely has to improve. We are getting runners in position, but we just need to finish.”
Clark agreed with the performance of his pitchers and the Raider defense.
“Whether it was defense or the pitching itself, we kept our composure for the most part today and that was big for us,” said Clark. “When something happens, we have done a good job of realizing we can’t control what just happened but rather focus and take care of the moment you are in. We were fortunate to get a pickoff in an inning when we gave up a free ball and when their runner rounded second, we were able to throw behind him and get an out. We were able to execute some of those plays you might not normally see in a game, but in a game like this one, you need to execute some of those things.”
The Raiders have little time to relish their win with BEA invading Raider territory today, while the Wildcats at least have one off day until their next outing, which is Wednesday against Danville.
“They fought back many times this year,” said Kramer of his troops. “Today is just a hiccup in the road so we just have to regroup and come back to play baseball the way we know how to play the game.”
Clark knows that his club could have their hands full with the Eagles to win the bragging rights of the Valley.
“You enjoy this one for the night, but you have to regroup quickly to get ready for tomorrow’s game,” said Clark. “With BEA, you know you are going to face another well-coached team today. Coach Kramer had a great team today and coach Gardner will have his kids ready, and again, it is Bald Eagle so when you throw that into the mix, it makes for a real battle because these kids know each other well, both their strengths and weaknesses. So who knows what can happen in that type of situation. In the end, those types of games are the ones that get you ready for the playoffs.”
Bellefonte struck first when Nick Capparelle was plunked by an Aidan Major pitch and eventually scored on an RBI single by Bobby Marsh.
Then came the disastrous fourth inning for CM as the Raiders batted around, scoring the three runs with the benefit of only one hit.
Trailing 4-0, the Wildcats scored their only run of the game in the fifth when they put together three walks and a fielder’s choice for the score.
CM 000 010 0 — 1 5 3
BF 100 300 X — 4 4 1
Aidan Major, Kaden Falls (5) and Cy Probst. Ashton Wetzler, Seth Shuey (7) and Colton Burd. WP: Wetzler. LP: Major. Hits: Central Mountain 5 (Zach Eck 2, Peyton Johnson 2, Kaden Falls 1). Bellefonte 4 (Bobby Marsh 1, C. J. Lauck 1, Nick Catalano 1, Dylan Young 1).