SENIOR LEGION BASEBALL: Young Township, Marion Center to face off in finals
Mitch Johnston drove in the game-winning run in the seventh, lifting host Young Township to a 3-2 win and an upset series sweep over Kovacik Insurance in Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinal series in the Indiana County Senior Legion playoffs Friday.
The fourth-seeded Renegades (14-8) earned a 7-5 win over top-seeded Kovacik Insurance (17-5) in Game 1 on Thursday.
Young Township will travel to third-seeded Marion Center in Game 1 of the best-of-three league championship series today at 1 p.m.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and Young Township’s Steve Babyak on third, Kovacik Insurance pitcher Reed Ratkus intentionally walked Mitchel Yard to get to Renegades’ clean-up hitter Johnston.
Johnston made Ratkus pay, smacking a base hit between third baseman John Distefano and shortstop Bobby Thompson to score Babyak and end the game. Johnston finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
“They walked him (Yard) last night to get to him (Johnston),” Young Township manager Barry Thomas said. “I talked to him about it and I told him, ‘They’re disrespecting you.’ That strategy worked out for them last night. Tonight it didn’t.”
Kovacik Insurance scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game, 2-2.
Winning pitcher Ian Satler held Kovacik Insurance scoreless and hitless the last two innings. Satler fired a five-hitter. He struck out 10 and walked one.
“I can’t say enough about Satler’s pitching performance,” Thomas said. “He was in total command of the game the whole way through. He threw one of the better games in a playoff situation that I’ve seen in a long while.”
Yard singled, double and drove in a run.
Scott Thompson singled and doubled to lead Kovacik Insurance. Ratkus struck out 10, walked four and allowed six hits in a complete-game losing effort.