Monessen tops Frazier in 8 innings
In a game that will go a long way toward shaping the playoff picture in Section 2 A, it was fitting that the contest between Monessen and Frazier featured a little bit of everything.
There was some outstanding pitching, timely hitting, shoddy fielding, controversial calls and a coaching ejection. And, of course, extra innings.
When the dust cleared, the Greyhounds earned an entertaining 9-4 win over the host Commodores in eight innings.
Monessen (5-6, 4-3) pulled out the win by scoring six runs in the top of the eighth with the aid of three Frazier errors and a pair of two-run singles by Nathaniel Moon and winning pitcher Justice Rawlins.
Frazier (4-7, 3-4) loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, but the rally was cut short by a double play.
“In a game that meant so much, my kids really battled,” said Monessen coach Bill Matush. “We had to win this game to have any shot at making the playoffs. I’m just so proud of how we fought today. This is a good win for us.”
“Both teams really battled early on and it was a close game,” said Frazier coach Craig Kordich. “In the eighth inning, they put the ball in play and took advantage of the opportunities they received.”
Matush wasn’t around for the end of the game because he was ejected in the top of the eighth inning.
The Monessen coach wasn’t thrilled with two calls by the home plate umpire that went against the Greyhounds.
In the bottom of the seventh, with Monessen ahead 3-2, Frazier’s Travis Sanner hit a shot down the first base line that Matush thought was foul but the umpires ruled fair. Sanner ended up with a triple and later scored the tying run.
In the eighth, with the bases loaded and Monessen leading 5-3, Moon hit a hard grounder over the third base bag that was called foul.
Matush briefly argued the call, but to no avail.
Then Moon blooped a single over second base to score two runs and make it 7-3.
Matush, who was coaching third, then yelled over to his first base coach Jim Smith and asked him if the hit over second by Moon “was fair or foul.”
The plate umpire immediately ejected Matush.
“Honestly, I don’t think I should have been ejected for what I said then,” the veteran Monessen coach said. “I probably said a lot more when the hit down third was called foul.”
Rawlins went the distance for the Greyhounds, tossing a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
“He pitched a great game,” Matush said. “The kid is just such a leader. He’s the best leader I ever had here. The kids respond to him.”
Frazier took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Chaise Bertocci drilled a towering double to left center that scored a pair of runs.
Monessen scored three in the third on two hits and three errors with Josh Kucmeroski doubling home one run and Rawlins singling in another.
Monessen had eight hits with Moon getting three hits and Rawlins two.
Losing pitcher Hunter Patterson lasted into the eighth inning and gave up nine runs, all of which were unearned. He gave up seven hits with eight strikeouts.
“This is one we have to put past us,” Kordich said. “The sun will come up tomorrow and this just means that we have to win one more game now.”