SULLIVAN TWP. — Black River’s baseball team put a scare into Keystone in the final inning but couldn’t finish the job, losing 4-3 Thursday afternoon in a Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division game.
Trailing 4-2, the Pirates (2-3, 2-1) put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh after receiving two walks. The lead runner then moved to third on a passed ball and came home on a wild throw by the Keystone catcher.
Later, with a runner on second, Jackson Weinzatl struck out to end the game.
Keystone had scored an insurance run, which turned out to be the winning one, with a run in its half of the seventh. Brian Rice and Caleb Schillace singled to left and moved up on a wild pitch, with Rice coming home on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Sittinger.
Black River’s first two runs came on solo home runs by Jon Sas in the first inning and Jake O’Connor in the fifth. It was Sas’ first of the season and O’Connor’s second.
Keystone’s other runs all came in the third, also sparked by long balls. Michael Cordy led off with a double and scored on an error. Sittinger followed with a single and came home on Lenny Brodnik’s triple to right center.
“I was happy with the win, although kind of nervous in that last inning when Black River put two on,” Brodnik said.
The game was halted for several minutes by a controversy in the top of the seventh when Cordy was declared out without swinging a bat.
Some Black River infielders, led by shortstop Todd Gentile, started clammering to the base umpire that Cordy was using an illegal bat. After meeting for a few minutes, both umpires agreed Cordy was out because of a bat declared illegal by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
It seems the OHSAA recently sent out a list of bats it deemed illegal, though the plate umpire Thursday didn’t know what was wrong with the bat in question.
Gentile said he knew the bat was illegal by its logo because he owned one but put it away when he read the list.
Keystone coach Mark Clement said he hadn’t studied the long list of banned bats in detail, but was happy with the outcome of the game.
“It was a great win because Black River has improved a lot,” he said.
Pirates coach Dozier Hendershot also said he was unsure why the bat was banned, then added he wished the Pirates had put their sticks to better use.
“Today we had a couple of good swings at the ball, but we’re a bit rusty,” he said. “With all the rainouts, it’s hard to work on things.”
Contact Jerry Rombach at firstname.lastname@example.org.