Indiana had Laurel Highlands cornered and on the ropes, leading by seven runs, 16-9, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Unfortunately the previously unbeaten Indians didn’t get the last out of the top of the seventh until it was too late.
Laurel Highlands mounted an unthinkable comeback, plating eight runs in the seventh to nip Indiana, 17-16, in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA baseball game Thursday at S&T Bank Field.
Indiana (3-1), which upset the favorite to win the section, Greensburg Salem, 3-1, on Wednesday, travels to the Curve Classic in Altoona today.
“It’s a tough loss and I told those guys after the game, ‘You’ve got to remember how this feels and make sure it doesn’t happen again,’” first-year Indiana coach Rob Stossel said. “We’re going to come back stronger and ensure in practice that we can close games out. There were definitely lessons to be learned from this. We’re going to use this loss to get better.”
The Indians seemingly landed the final blow in a slugfest when they scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 16-9 lead.
But the resilient Mustangs used four hits, three walks and two errors in the seventh to plate eight runs and take a 17-16 lead.
Bo Putt paced Indiana by going 2-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and three RBIs. Cole Shaffer finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs, Danny Clark went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs, and Jordan Hudzicki singled twice and drove in two runs.
Trent Ream singled, doubled and scored three runs, Ty Brocious singled twice, scored two runs and drove in two runs, and Ryan Creps singled, scored a run and drove in two runs.
Ream, Indiana’s starter, struck out five and walked four in five innings.
MARION CENTER 8, BLAIRSVILLE 2: Marion Center used a huge third-inning rally and stellar pitching from C.J. Stiles to thump Blairsville in a Heritage Conference game at WyoTech Park.
Marion Center got on the board first by scoring five runs on two hits, three walks and two errors in the top of the third inning. Justin Shank, who finished 2-for-4, highlighted the rally with a two-run double.
Stiles struck out 10, walked three and allowed three hits in 6 1-3 innings to earn the win. Stiles also clubbed a triple, scored two runs and drove in two runs. Brodey Thompson singled twice, scored a run and drove in a run, and Hunter Stiteler scored a pair of runs.
Bobby Thompson singled and drove in a run for Blairsville. Reed Ratkus singled.
Blairsville (0-1) plays host to Purchase Line today. Marion Center travels to Northern Cambria on Monday.
HOMER-CENTER 3, SALTSBURG 1: In a game that featured a combined three hits between Homer-Center and host Saltsburg, the Wildcats plated each of their three runs on passed balls to outlast the Trojans in a Heritage Conference game.
With the Wildcats clinging to a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Saltsburg’s Mitchel Yard cracked a two-out single to centerfield, prompting Saltsburg’s third base coach to wave Doug Pollack home. However, Homer-Center center fielder Isaiah Carr scooped up the base hit and fired an accurate throw that catcher Bryan Buzi caroled just in time to make a game-ending tag on Pollack.
Winning pitcher Matt Jones tossed a one-hitter, striking out six, walking seven and surrendering no earned runs.
Losing pitcher Brody Bieda struck out one, allowed one hit and no earned runs in six innings.
Both teams play Friday. Saltsburg (0-2) plays host to Marion Center, and Homer-Center (1-0) heads to Northern Cambria.