Player-manager Joe Culler pulled all the right strings Sunday, and he even came up with some timely hits to help lead Blairsville over West Lebanon, 7-0, in the opening game of their Indiana County League best-of-five semifinal series.
Culler finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and one run scored. He drove in both runs in Blairsville’s three run sixth inning that put the game out of reach.
Ben Doak and Craig Paouncic chipped in with six hits combined as Blairsville recorded 11 hits as a team.
Blairsville, the regular-season champion, jumped on West Lebanon ace Matt Rebyanski early, scoring two runs in each of the second and third innings.
Scott Harsh and Andrew Gilmore drove in runs in the second inning.
In the third, Doak started things with a single, and Paouncic lined an RBI double to right field. Bobby Thompson followed with an RBI single.
In a three-run sixth inning, Harsh reached when he was hit by a pitch, and Dan Leonard hit a pinch-hit double to put runners on second and third. Culler delivered his two-run single, and Doak closed the scoring with an RBI single.
Doak and Paouncic finished with three hits apiece.
Bobby Gaston pitched 5 2-3 innings, striking out five, walking five and scattering seven hits. Jordan Truscott pitched the final 1 1-3 innings.
For West Lebanon, Tyler Beitel and Mitchel Yard each finished with two of West Lebanon’s seven hits. Josh Mottorn, John Nepsha and Todd Smyers recorded the other hits.
Rebyanski pitched 5 1-3 innings, striking out six, walking three and allowing all seven runs.
The series resumes this evening at West Lebanon.