Baseball can teach harsh lessons.
As an example, catching a infield pop fly is not automatic.
Even if it seems so.
Baseball also has its redeeming qualities.
Nick Carson knows that firsthand.
When the SWS Blue first baseman let a sure out ricochet off his glove in the top of the seventh inning, allowing Hempfield Black to tie the game at 4-4, he was sure a loss would ensue.
But, sure enough, there was Carson at the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the go-ahead run on third.
“I was looking for a fastball,” he said, minutes after delivering a game-winning single to left field. “You can’t throw anything off-speed there, so I figured it would be a fastball.”
He figured right and that decision and subsequent hit enabled SWS Blue to defeat Hempfield Black 5-4 in a New Era Tournament Midget Division quarterfinal game Monday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
In the first game, Solanco Gray plated five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 12-9 lead only to see Manheim Township Black mount a rally in the top of the seventh.
Solanco’s Bryce Keys came on in relief to record the final out, giving Solanco a 12-11 wild victory.
So, SWS Blue will meet Solanco Gray in a semifinal game tonight back at Clipper. That game will follow the semifinal pitting the Ephrata Pride against Bears Blue, which begins at 5:15 p.m.
With runners on first and third, Buchko hit a pop-up behind first base. Carson couldn’t handle the pop and his throw to the plate was late, allowing Wilt to score and tie the game at 4-4.
“I just felt horrible,” Carson said. “I kind of lost and then fumbled over my feet. I just botched it. But the team came together. We loaded the bases (before he came up), which I knew we could.”
In the first game, Solanco’s Kyle Eby came to the plate in the sixth inning and his RBI single to right tied the game at 9-9. The run marked the culmination of a comeback since Solanco at one point trailed 7-1.
Ralph Brown followed with a sharply hit ball to short which couldn’t be handled, enabling Solanco to score two runs and take a 11-9 lead.
Brown then scored on a wild pitch to push Solanco’s lead to three, 12-9.
But in a game that featured six extra-base hits, no lead was safe.
Township’s Adam Yunginger, who reached on a fielder’s choice, came in on an error to cut Solanco’s lead to two, 12-10. Two batters later, Alex Vigilante singled to right to plate another run, closing the gap to one, 12-11.
But Keys fanned the next batter, enabling Solanco coach John Girvin a chance to breathe again.
“I’ve tried to be more relaxed as a coach,” he said. “The seventh was a little frustrating … but Mark Kreider came on and pitched well in relief. He just throws strikes.”