Ridgway baseball edged by Smethport after late-inning rally
Ridgway baseball lost a back-and-forth 6-4 game to Smethport on a damp Monday afternoon at Sandy Beach Recreational Park. After a scoreless first four innings, the Hubbers built a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth before Ridgway came back with four runs of its own. Plate discipline and wild pitching from Smethport were parts to the Elker comeback. Jesse Gardner, Derek Mattiuz and Aaron Sorge all walked to load the bases. Jesse Reynolds walked to score Gardner and Alex Dickant walked to plate courtesy runner Ricky Jay Javier. Josh Mitchell put the Elkers ahead with a 2-run single to left, scoring Sorge and Reynolds. Ridgway recorded three strikeouts in its next four hitters to end the inning. "It was a heck of a battle, both teams, especially in these conditions," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "Our team showed a bit of moxie. We battled, we battled the elements, we battled the team, a good team like Smethport. We came from behind, unfortunately they got two runs to pull ahead of us and we couldn't match that."In the sixth inning, Zach Smith opened by being hit by a pitch. Pinch runner Ryan Stratton later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. With two outs, Brian Zetwick walked, he scored on a double to right center field by Jory Okerlund. The Hubbers added a run in the seventh inning to make the lead 6-4, a lead that would ultimately stick. Morelli said the team is working on better situational hitting with runners in scoring position. "That's something we're working on but we're still not getting that big hit when we need it," Morelli said. "We got to keep stressing that. We even tried to give a new-look lineup to see if that would shake some things up. After the four in the fifth inning, we felt good. We just couldn't hold it."Smethport opened the scoring with a 3-run fifth inning. Clay Schuler opened with a 1-out single, Zetwick followed with a walk. Okerlund walked to load the bases but a strikeout put Tony Farnell at the plate with two outs. He blooped a ball over the pitcher and down. The hit was with a full count, so the runners were moving and both Schuler and Zetwick came around to score. Okerlund scored on a wild pitch for Smethport's third run of the inning. "That bloop infield hit kind of changed the whole complexion of the game there," Morelli said. "There wasn't a big drive to the outfield, it was a bloop in the infield. Both teams battled, both teams are good ballclubs. They just came out two runs better than us." Mitchell started on the mound for Ridgway and allowed no runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out seven. Zetwick started and went three innings. He matched Mitchell with no runs allowed on three hits. He walked none and struck out five. Ridgway (2-4) is scheduled to host Kane at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday for a doubleheader. "We're going to have to find a way to get it done on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Kane coming up," Morelli said. "It's a challenge, that's what playing sports is all about. We got to find a way to meet that challenge and come to the ballpark Wednesday ready to play and go from there."