Spring City ousts host Boy­er­town be­hind Hughes’ pitch­ing gem

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Dennis Weller

BOY­ER­TOWN » The older Spring City play­ers wel­comed a shot at re­demp­tion in this sea­son’s Penn­syl­va­nia State Amer­i­can Le­gion Tour­na­ment af­ter los­ing two out of two in last year’s af­fair. And so far they’re tak­ing ad­van­tage of their ex­tra op­por­tu­nity as they ad­vanced to the fi­nal four in the state Mon­day af­ter­noon with a 4-0 win over Boy­er­town at Bear Sta­dium.

Red Sox left-han­der Tom Hughes threw 6-2/3 two-hit in­nings be­fore reach­ing the Le­gion’s max­i­mum-al­lowed pitch count and Spring City pulled away with three runs in the bot­tom of the fifth.

“It was a quick outing last year,” said Red Sox man­ager Mike Gan­casz, whose team lost two one-run games in 2017. “We were 0-2. The su­per se­niors on the team ... they wanted re­demp­tion.”

“We’re def­i­nitely play­ing bet­ter than last year,” added the 19-year-old Hughes, who set a Chest­nut Hill Col­lege record with 14 strike­outs in the fi­nal outing of his fresh­man year in spring. “We have more tal­ent. Our de­fense is def­i­nitely bet­ter than last year.”

Hughes walked three bat­ters in the first in­ning, but got out of the jam with a called third strike.

“The first in­ning is al­ways rough for me,” he said. “I al­ways come back and try to throw strikes.”

“He made me ner­vous in the first in­ning with three walks,” said Gan­casz. “For­tu­nately, he got out of that with no dam­age. We do have a great de­fense be­hind him and he started us­ing it. He kept his pitch count down and we knew he had an op­por­tu­nity.”

That first in­ning turned out to be the best op­por­tu­nity of the day for the Bears (25-15).

“That was a cru­cial in­ning for us,” said Boy­er­town man­ager Rick Moatz. “That kid’s a good pitcher. The time you get to a good pitcher is the first in­ning. You’ve got to give him credit for com­ing back and find­ing his groove. He re­ally had our hit­ters off-bal­ance. Ex­cept for the first in­ning, he was ahead all day and our pitch­ers were be­hind all day.”

Spring City scored in the sec­ond off Bear starter Gavin Richards on a one­out sin­gle by J.C. Reed, two walks and a sac­ri­fice fly to cen­ter by Tyler Hor­gan. That was the only run al­lowed by Richards in four in­nings.

But Hughes set­tled down with a 1-2-3 sec­ond with two strike­outs and al­lowed only a sin­gle by Shayn Hor­rocks in the third, a dou­ble by Caleb Har­ri­son in the fourth and two walks the rest of the way.

“My curve­ball was re­ally good to­day,” said Hughes. “I had been us­ing my fast­ball and changeup this year, but my curve­ball had a huge im­pact.”

The Red Sox did the rest of their scor­ing on a twoout RBI dou­ble by Coy Wal­ters and con­sec­u­tive sin­gles by Pat Jucker, Reed and Hughes.

“I re­ally wanted our hit­ters to make ad­just­ments,” said Gan­casz. “Even with flick­ing the bat out and get­ting the hits. We put runs on the board.”

Then Hughes came out in the sixth and struck out the side.

“I was def­i­nitely more re­laxed,” he said. “It def­i­nitely pumped me up.”

As a re­sult, the Re­gion 3 cham­pion Red Sox moved a big step closer to earn­ing one of the state’s two berths in the Mid-At­lantic Re­gional in Vir­ginia.

“I’m pumped to spend some time with the guys in the ho­tel and com­pete with some very good teams down there,” Hughes added.

The set­back ended the sea­son for the host Bears, who will lose only col­lege play­ers Nick DiCi­acco and Tate Yergey.

“We played well,” said Moatz. “I think we played bet­ter than we did all sea­son long. We had a cou­ple weeks of prac­tice that we needed to have early in the sea­son. I was very happy with the way we fin­ished up.”

THOMAS NASH - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Boy­er­town’s Jared Wald­man de­liv­ers to the plate dur­ing Mon­day’s game against Spring City.

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