PAHS baseball rebounds with pair of wins

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
Apr. 30, 2009

Hoping to rebound from last week’s loss to Coudersport, the Port Allegany baseball team had to wait eight days and two rainouts to get back on the field. When they did, they ran into a tough Bradford High team, dropping an 8-5 decision to the veteran Owls.

“They’re a solid team. They do a lot of good things. Those top-of-the-order guys get the bat on the ball and run well. And I have to give their catcher credit – we wanted to do some things, but he’s a game-changer, and we had to respect his arm. I’m impressed,” Gators coach Nate Zitnik said.

After giving up two first-inning runs on a double and a sacrifice fly, Port ace Mark Larson settled in, striking out the side in the second and fourth frames and recording all three putouts in the fifth.

“The Larson kid pitched a solid game on the mound, and it took us a while to get going,” said Bradford coach Tim Burris. “He had us back on our heels the whole game.”

But while Larson was keeping the game close, the Gator offense was having trouble putting runs on the board, stranding runners at second and third twice in the first three innings. The Owls added two runs in the top of the sixth to take a 5-0 lead before Brock Bricker finally put Port on the scoreboard, lacing a double deep to left field and coming around to score on Charlie Buchanan’s single.

Bradford appeared to put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of a pair of walks to manufacture three more runs, but the Gators fought back. Following a couple of errors, back-to-back-to-back singles by Seth Lowery, Buchanan, and Chad Barnard made the score 8-5, sending the tying run to the plate before the Owls could finally secure the last out.

“I knew we were going to have to score runs to hang with them,” Zitnik said. “I was actually surprised we held them to three for so long … It was right there for the taking, and we really didn’t take advantage of a couple of opportunities. I was really happy with how (our guys) kept their heads in the game, though. They definitely could have tucked tail down 8-1, but they didn’t. A couple of errors helped us, but we strung together some hits, and it kind of showed us what we can do. Hopefully, tomorrow we can show up and get one in the right column.”

The Gators did just that, beating Otto-Eldred on Saturday morning, then adding a win at Northern Potter on Monday to improve their record to 7-2. Larson and Josh Guerrero each doubled and drove in four RBI in the 21-5 romp over the Panthers, and Lucas Kline picked up the victory, striking out eight and walking four in his five innings of work.

Port hits the road this week, for a game in Kane on Wednesday and the rescheduled Smethport game on Friday afternoon.

At Port Allegany, 4/24:
BAHS 2 0 1 0 0 2 3 – 8 4 3
PAHS 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 – 5 6 2
O’Hara (6 SO, 3 BB), Viola (7) (2 SO) and Jones
Larson (12 SO, 7 BB) and Lowery

At Ulysses, 4/27:
PA 1 8 0 0 3 0 9 – 21 11 5
NP 1 0 4 0 0 0 0 – 5 5 10
Kline (8 SO, 4 BB), Bricker (6) (5 SO, 1 BB) and Guerrero
Stevens (9 SO, 7 BB) and Yerrick

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