Saylor throws two-hitter to defeat Strasburg/Willow Street, 7-0
By Dave Byrne
Getting the ball because Mountville (44-5) was deep into its rotation, courtesy of tournament pitching regulations, Saylor tossed a two-hit shutout as Mountville eliminated the Strasburg-Willow Street Cardinals, 7-0, Wednesday night at Mount Joy’s Kunkle Field.
Mountville will square off against the Warwick Phillies Friday at 7 p.m. at Kunkle.
Should the Phillies prevail, they will nail down their first NET M-M title since 2009, their fourth overall.
A Mountville victory Friday squares the series and the two teams will play winner-take-all at Kunkle, Monday at 7 p.m.
None of that was guaranteed Wednesday as Saylor pitched into and out of peril. Especially when the game was still very much in doubt.
“That’s the first complete game I’ve had,” said Saylor, who came in 7-0 with an 0.60 ERA. “I really wanted it because it was win or go home.”
Saylor threw 124 pitches, 63 for strikes. He walked nine and struck out 13, getting key strikeouts to pinch off SWS uprisings in the second, third and fourth innings.
“I’m sort of known for that through the years,” he said. “I usually load the bases, then find a way to get out of it.”
“That’s his style,” agreed Indians coach Bob Souders. “He’s our catcher. and he throws hard. He’s learning that deuce (curveball) … and he can be a little erratic.”
The Cardinals (28-9) had bases loaded in the second, two on in the third and bases loaded once again in the fourth, coming away with nothing.
In all the Cards left 10 on base and didn’t get their first hit until Nevin Book’s two-out infield single to short in the fourth.
Patrick Holmes singled off Saylor’s arm in the fifth for the other hit. In all, the Cards put the ball in play just five times, twice by Dylan Byler.
“We had a lot of runners on,” allowed Cards’ coach Cliff Blantz. “When you’re playing a close game like that, if you don’t get some of those in, it’s tough to stay with a team like (Mountville). “While Saylor was dancing with danger, Mountville was spinning its offensive wheels.Ty Vaughn (2 for 3, 4 RBIs, run) hit his second towering home run of the tournament, a two-run blast 230 feet out of left field, to give the Indians a 2-0 first-inning lead, but Cards’ starter Kris Pirozzi retired eight of the next 10.
Josiah Snyder’s two-out single and Nick Fiore’s double — his first of two — set the stage for Seth Constein, pinch-hitting in the fourth inning and looking for his first hit of the tournament.
“I really wanted to get a hit,” said Constein, mired in an 0-for-4 mini slump, “especially in that situation.”
He took a ball, then drilled a two-run single to center.
“That was a 2-Star pinch hit,” said Souders, speaking of the Indians’ special system of rewards.
“Our hitters have a tendency to take that big swing, it’s natural. We try to get them to be quick, short to the ball. That’s exactly what he did.”
The hit sparked the Indians, who went on to score three more times, chasing Pirozzi, as Ryan Moffatt (2 for 3, RBI, run) hit an RBI single and Vaughn doubled in a pair to give Saylor the breathing room he desperately needed.