Thu May 31, 2012
On a beautiful sunny day at Consol Energy Park in Washington, PA, Rob Hardy and Christian Kearns locked up in what appeared on paper would be a low scoring pitcher’s dual. Ellwood City ended that theory by plating seven runs in the first two innings. Blaise McCarty went to the mound in replace of Hardy with one out and two men on in the second inning. Through the final five innings McCarty managed to keep Riverside in the game and gave his team the opportunity to chip away at the lead.
Riverside closed the deficit to 7-5 with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. McCarty had an RBI single and scored a run in the inning to aid his cause on the mound.
His single in the fifth inning set up an RBI groundout by Dylan Jones that narrowed the Ellwood City lead to one at 7-6 heading to the sixth inning.
Ellwood City, which had been scoreless since the second inning, got the insurance runs they needed in the top of the sixth inning. Seth Mley’s RBI double was the big blow in the inning. The two runs scored in the inning proved to be the difference as No. 21 Ellwood City went on to win the WPIAL AA Championship 9-7.
Both teams will advance to the PIAA playoffs beginning next Monday. Riverside, the defending PIAA AA Champions, will attempt to defend their state title as the number two seed from District 7.
In an oddity that is rarely seen at any level of baseball, Ellwood City starting pitcher Christian Kerns picked up the win and the save on the mound. Kerns was relieved by Anthony Carusone with one out and two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh inning. Carusone pitched to one hitter who ended up walking and was then relieved by Kerns. Kerns was able to retire the final two batters of the game on ground balls to close out the win and earn the rare win-save combination.