NEW BRIDGEVILLE — When Susquehanna League-leading East Prospect fell to Conrads Sunday afternoon, many fans were surprised.
Now the boys from New Bridgeville have knocked off the Pistons for the second time in the span of three days.
After electing to walk Conrads starting pitcher Joe Yourgal with two outs and a runner on third in the sixth inning on Tuesday evening, the visitors paid the price. With the score tied 1-1, Conrads' Jackson Marshall ripped a two-run double to right to break the deadlock. A double that followed off the bat of Justin Berkstresser added an insurance run as Conrads claimed a 4-1 triumph.
The home team improved to 16-12 after its third straight victory, while Prospect fell to 23-6.
The fact that Yourgal, who needed just 79 pitches in his complete-game triumph, was on the mound was a bit unexpected. Randy Stewart was penned in to start, but Yourgal took his place after suffering an injury the other night.
"I called Joe today and said, 'it's on,'" Conrads manager Chad Kennell said. "And he got 'er done."
The right-hander allowed four hits while mostly staying out of trouble.
"I hadn't pitched in like a month and a half or something like that," said Yourgal, who is typically the team's catcher. "I just tried to work fast and get them to chase a couple of balls and stuff like that."
Yourgal struck out four and didn't walk a batter in a contest that took just more than 90 minutes to complete.
"We're in and out of here," said Marshall of his pitcher. "It's nice."
The only time Yourgal got into trouble came in the top of the sixth with his team ahead 1-0. With a runner on second and two out, he faced Prospect catcher Mark Schauren. A pitch to Schauren appeared to hit the Pistons' catcher on his foot, but the home plate umpire and base umpire didn't see it that way. Schauren argued the no-call, which allowed the runner to move to third, to no avail. A couple of pitches later the left-handed hitting catcher poked a ball well off the plate into left for a single that tied the contest.
"I wasn't even trying to throw him a strike there," said Yourgal. "It was like a foot outside."
Did Yourgal get a good look at the pitch that possibly hit Schauren on the foot?
"I thought it did," he said. "And I wished they would have said that it did. I don't think he's trying to fake it. He's the best hitter on their team."
Yourgal's teammates had his back in the bottom of the inning, getting their starter the lead back and then some. A double by Brandon Miller led off the frame, but Miller was only on third after Kevin Keesey grounded out to second for the second out of the inning.
The Pistons elected to walk Yourgal, who was 1-for-2 in the contest, to get to Marshall. That proved to be a mistake.
"Walking Yourgal is probably the best idea that they could have had," Kennell said. "And for Jackson to come up big with two strikes was huge."
With the wind blowing in steadily from center, Jackson drove a pitch over the right-fielder's head and to the fence. That allowed Miller and Yourgal to score.
"You couldn't ask for anything more," Kennell said. "I mean (Sean) Rigney is out there and he's a pretty good outfielder. He's got some college experience and I've seen him flash his glove up and thought, 'man, oh man.' But he somehow didn't get to it. I think he got turned a little bit with the wind blowing like that, but we'll take it."
The two victories over the Pistons come at a great time for Kennell and his crew, who are positioning themselves for what they hope to be a lengthy run in the playoffs.
"We're playing real well," Marshall said. "Everything is going real good and I'm hoping we'll have a good shot."
Prospect starter Terry Godfrey allowed seven hits for the contest, but four of them turned out to be doubles. The southpaw struck out four, walked one and hit a batter.
Schauren was the only player Tuesday with a multi-hit game. He led the Pistons with two hits.
OTHER SUSQUEHANNA LEAGUE GAMES
Jacobus 12, Felton 2: At Jacobus, the home team jumped on the board early, scoring four runs in the first and three in the second to take a big lead and went on to capture the victory. Joel Buchko led the offense for the home team by going 3-for-4. Also for Jacobus, Brian Crimmel went 2-for-4, while Riley Hamberger threw a complete game, striking out one and walking one. Jacobus improved to 20-7 and moved within one game in the loss column of first-place East Prospect.
Hallam 3, Stewartstown 1: At Hallam, Alex Tucci threw a complete game, striking out seven and walking none to lead the home team to the victory. Also for Hallam, Dalton Renn went 2-for-3 with one RBI, Corey Knaub went 2-for-3 and Angel Matias and Jaron Shimmel each doubled. For Stewartstown, Cody Brittain went 2-for-3 with a double, Justin Cunningham went 2-for-3 with one RBI and starting pitcher Jere Preston threw five innings, striking out three and walking two. Hallam improved to 21-9.
York Township 7, Windsor 3: At York Township, Mike Wokulich and Austin Martinez powered the home team to the victory by each hitting a three-run homer. Wokulich's blast came in the third inning, while Martinez connected for his in the sixth. For the game, Martinez went 2-for-4, while Jon Snyder went 3-for-3 with one RBI, Morgan Markey doubled and starting pitcher Briar Lauer threw five innings, striking out three and walking two to record the win. For Windsor, Tyler Myers doubled.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.