BROOKVILLE — The red-hot Sykesville Senators carried their momentum from their 4-2 series win over the top-seeded and two-time defending champion DuBois Rockets to help land a dominating 14-1 Game 1 win over the Brookville Grays Wednesday night at McKinley Field in Brookville.
"We didn't have much going from any stand point; the pitching was just a little bit less than what we expected," said Bob McCullough, Brookville Grays manager.
The Grays opened the game with two nice defensive plays that those watching have come to expect. Ryan Gordon opened with a shot to left field that looked like it was going to drop right before it was snagged by Cole Cook. Jason Roman then hit a line drive that was grabbed by Mike Sedor for the second quick out.
After that, Sykesville returned to the form it has shown all playoffs and started slugging. Adam Fox started with a single to left field to initiate the scoring barrage. Kasey Clinton once again demonstrated why he's the league MVP with his blast to left. Clinton went 2-for-3 on the night with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Jonathon Weber stepped up to the plate next. Brookville starting pitcher Craig Hibell forced Weber into two strikes before he blasted a two-RBI double to center field. Tom Hibbert scored his team's third run of the inning with a smack to center. Jesse Cogan registered a single to left field but he and Hibbert ended up stranded when Jordan Weinzeral was forced out 4-3 to end the damage. Sykesville had a 3-0 lead after its first at-bat.
Brookville did its best to retaliate in the first inning. Leadoff batter Rick Shaffer put down a bunt that traveled down the left field line and was misthrown by Hibbert at third, allowing Shaffer to reach second.
Dan Walters then followed with a grounder down the right field line that was gloved by Weber for the first out but put Shaffer in scoring position at third. Cole Cook then drove in his team's only run with his sac-fly to center field, which narrowly allowed Shaffer to score as he slid behind Cogan at home.
Kent Shick was then forced into the third out on the 1-3 play. Sykesville still had the 3-1 lead.
Sykesville pushed its lead further in the second inning. Designated-hitter Jude Lander opened with a crank to center field, and Gordon followed with a chipper down the right field line that was gloved by Brookville. But the infield was out of position, and Gordon hustled and made it to the bag.
Roman then scored a run for his squad when he bunted a ball that was mishandled by Nate Simpson, allowing Lander to score and Roman to reach second. Fox then flew out to left field for the first out.
Big-time slugger Clinton approached the plate after that and belted the ball down to left field to score another two runs. Weber and Hibbert were then handed outs two and three, respectively, to send Sykesville out to the field. It had the 6-1 lead.
Brookville struggled at the plate the rest of the contest. Sedor opened with the first out on a 5-3 play. Jed Fiscus was then able to slip the ball past Hibbert at third when he grounded a shot down the left field line good enough for a double.
Dan Buzzard provided the second out when he was put out 5-3, advancing Fiscus to third. Fiscus was left stranded when pinch-hitter Eric Painter struck out. Sykesville still had the 6-1 lead.
The Grays clamped down on defense for the third inning. Cogan was forced out 5-3 for the initial out. Weinzeral batted next and was nipped by a pitch, allowing him to reach first. Hibell then threw two consecutive strikeouts against Lander and Gordon to send his team to the plate.
Zac Roller and Walters were able to reach base for Brookville in the third but never made it home as Shaffer, Cook and Shick provided outs one, two and three, respectively.
The game went from bad to worse for Brookville in the fourth. The Senators had a monster inning that sent 12 batters to the plate, combining for eight runs on seven hits. Roman and Fox got the ball rolling with consecutive singles. At that point, McCullough subbed out Hibell for Joe Culler.
A new pitcher did not slow Sykesville down, though. Culler walked his first batter, Clinton, to load the bases. Weber was once again able to capitalize with his smack to center that scored two. In a game with many hits for Sykesville, Hibbert had the biggest. He stepped up the plate and crushed a three-run dinger over the right field wall. After that, Cogan was walked to reach first.
Weinzeral then tallied a hit of his own with a double to center. Lander then followed with another double that scored Cogan. Gordan was then walked during his at-bat. The first out came when pinch runner Lake Lander was tagged out on an attempt at stealing third. The second out was provided by a Roman strikeout.
Fox then scored his team's final run of the night with a double to center. The third out came next when Clinton flew out to left field, but Sykesville had an overwhelming 14-1 lead.
The Grays' lineup was set down in order to close the fourth inning.
Sykesville did not further its lead in the fifth as it went down four-and-out.
Brookville sent four batters to the plate in the fifth, with Shaffer recording a hit, but Travis Menteer allowed no runs to be scored in that inning to close out the game.
Menteer was solid on the mound all night, throwing five strikeouts, one walk and allowing just one run on only two hits.
Sykesville had won behind an impressive 15-hit game that gave it the 14-1 Game 1victory.
When McCullough was asked how to cool down the bats of Sykesville, he jokingly responded, "I could throw water on them, I could throw some M-80s at them, I don't know if that would help or not; they were loud tonight, they had some big bats booming."