OIL CITY — Baseball can be a game of ups and downs, as that was evident Tuesday during the championship game of the Section 1 Minor League All-Stars between Saegertown and St. Marys. After St. Marys knocked Saegertown into the losers bracket Sunday with a 10-0 win, Saegertown got revenge Tuesday and then some, beating St. Marys 15-3 in four innings to force a deciding game today — once again at Rennie Schneider Little League Field in Oil City at 6 p.m.
“I think the first game our hits fell,” St. Marys coach TJ Gornati said. “Then this game, their hits fell. That’s the way baseball goes sometimes — it’s a funny game. Some days you make the plays and some days you don’t. That’s kind of how it goes.”
Saegertown won the coin flip and chose to be the home team. And in the top of the first inning, it looked like it could be a repeat of Sunday’s game with St. Marys jumping out to an early lead.
Blake Stauffer singled to center, followed by a TJ Gornati single where the throw to second went over the bag, sending both runners to second and third. That’s when JJ Hanslovan ripped a double over the Saegertown center fielder that brought in Stauffer and Gornati for the quick 2-0 lead. Saegertown pitcher Mason Groner was able to settle down and get the next two outs.
From there, it was all Saegertown as they piled on 11 run in the bottom of the first, sending 17 batters to the plate. Gavin Leslie led off with a double and a few batters later, a Kayden McClintock single brought him home. Two batters later, a Matthew Shartle double scored two to give Saegertown a 3-2 lead and a lead they would keep for the rest of the contest.
Shartle was 3-for-3 with three doubles and five RBIs. After St. Marys pitcher Gornati hit his third batter, he was relieved for Will Chapman — who proceeded to give up a couple more hits as Saegertown took an 11-2 lead after one inning.
“It snowballed — and that’s how a 10-year-old game goes,” Coach Gornati said. “One bad thing happens and then four bad things happen.”
The St. Marys offense couldn’t get anything going in the second and third innings, going three-up-three down each time while Saegertown tacked on three more in the second and one more in the third as St. Marys went into the fourth inning trailing 15-2 with the mercy rule firmly in play.
St. Marys did not quit, as Hanslovan led off the top of the fourth with a single. After pinch hitter Landrey Brem hit into a fielder’s choice, Bryce Pistner singled. A two-out RBI single by Chapman cut the Saegertown lead to 15-3, but Saegertown retired the next batter to end the game via the mercy rule in four innings.
The loss by St. Marys meant both teams will now play the if-necessary game Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Oil City, as Coach Gornati is hoping his team will play like the first Saegertown game again rather than the second one.
“We’ll come back and be ready to play (today),” Coach Gornati said. “These boys are disciplined and they’ll be ready. Coming back (today) we’ll have a positive attitude. One of the things we preach is to forget about things. Once you leave this field, the game’s over and we forget about it. (Today) we come ready to play again.”
ST. MARYS 3
Score by Innings
St. Marys 200 1 — 3
Saegertown (11)31 x — 15
Leo Simbeck ss-3b 2000, Blake Stauffer 2b 2110, TJ Gornati p-ss 2110, JJ Hanslovan c 2022, Grayson Meyer lf 1000, Landrey Brem ph 1100, Bryce Pistner 1b 2010, Max Jovenetti cf 2000, Will Chapman 3b-p 2011, Brayden Steinbach rf 2000. Totals: 18-3-6-3.
Gavin Leslie ss 3212, Mason Groner p 4110, Kayden McClintock lf 3312, Quinton Burchill c 3232, Matthew Shartle 2b 3135, Pryce Whiteman 1b 2121, Nicholas Peters 3b 2100, Jaxton Amy cf 3220, Cale Annabale rf 0101, Brantley Demaison ph 0100, Brayden Shetler ph 1010. Totals: 24-15-14-13.
Errors: St. Marys 2, Saegertown 0. 2B: Hanslovan; Shartle 3, Leslie. HBP: Annabale (by Gornati), Leslie (by Gornati), McClintock (by Gornati).
St. Marys: TJ Gornati-1/3 IP+, 6 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 3 HB; Will Chapman-2 2/3+ IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO.
Saegertown: Mason Groner-4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO.
Winning pitcher: Groner. Losing pitcher: Gornati.