DuBois takes 1-0 series lead with 8-1 win
DUBOIS — The Rossiter Miners jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in Game 1 of the Federation League championship series Tuesday night in DuBois, but DuBois Rockets' pitcher Ben McGary threw six shutout innings after that, and DuBois won 8-1 to take the early lead in the series.
"We didn't have too many guys on base to get a chance to steal a base and score," Rossiter manager Rick Matthews said.
Rossiter also struggled defensively, committing an error in the fourth inning and two in the fifth that all proved to be costly.
"We have to cut down on the errors," Matthews said. "That one inning, we committed two errors, and that's what blew the game open."
Rossiter came out swinging in the first inning, managing three hits off McGary with two outs. Tommy Bush got things started when he reached base on an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop.
Bush scored on an RBI-double by Matt Gourley to left-center field, Tyler Skerkavich walked, and Braedon Pennington walked to load the bases, but McGary forced Dakota Bish to ground out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Neither team scored any more runs until DuBois scored one in the bottom of the fourth with a little help from a tree hanging over the third baseline fence.
DuBois' Sean Sleigh hit a pop up down the third base line in foul territory, and Bush made a spectacular spinning catch, but the umpires ruled that the ball had touched one of the tree's branches.
Because the ball hit the branch, it was ruled a foul ball. Sleigh returned to the plate and belted a single into left field, setting up Brett Sutika's RBI single two hitters later.
"When the ball hit the tree, that play seemed to take us right out of the game," Matthews said, and from that point on, Rossiter seemed a bit more deflated than it had prior.
Still tied, 1-1, DuBois took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth, with help from the two errors Punxsy committed.
Jon Kemmer led off the inning with a ground ball to Bush, who couldn't handle it, and Kemmer beat the toss to first.
Sean Zimmerman walked, and Joe Chittester doubled to right-center field, scoring both Kemmer and Zimmerman.
Kasey Clinton hit a sharp ground ball to third that rolled between Christian Muth's legs, and Sleigh followed with an RBI single before Pennington retired the next two batters to end the inning with DuBois leading 4-1.
Punxsy was retired in order in the top of the sixth, and Kasey Clinton hit a grand slam on a 3-1 pitch off relief pitcher Austin Furman, after Chittester had been intentionally walked to load the bases.
McGary finished off Punxsy in the top of the seventh after Muth and Jacob Stumpf managed to single and move into scoring position.
"Braedon pitched a good game for us," Matthews said. "But then those errors came along, and it just seemed to take everyone right out of the game. Everyone put their heads down, and that's the thing we need to get out of."
Rossiter will have a shot at redeeming itself in the second game of the best-of-seven championship series at 6 p.m. tonight in Rossiter.
"We need to go home and tie it up tomorrow," Matthews said. "Christian Muth's going to pitch for us, so we'll see if we can get a win out of him."