BLAIRSVILLE — Andrew Baker brought his best stuff to the mound when Kovacik Insurance needed it most.
It wasn’t enough to overcome an even stronger effort by Brookville’s Hunter Geer on Saturday in Blairsville.
Baker held the visitors to one run through five innings to give his team a chance, but Geer rarely gave Kovacik Insurance an opportunity, firing a complete-game five-hitter as Brookville roared to a 7-2 victory in Game 1 of their best-of-three Indiana County Youth Legion baseball championship series.
The teams will decide the county champion today as the series shifts to Brookville.
The second game will begin at 1 p.m. If Kovacik Insurance forges a series tie, a deciding third game will follow.
The county champion advances to next week’s Western Regional tournament at Homer City. S.W. Jack, which lost to Brookville in the semifinals, is the host team.
On Saturday, Bay Harper staked Brookville to a 1-0 lead with an RBI single on the second at-bat of the game before the two teams played through four scoreless innings.
Baker settled in after the first, allowing just four baserunners and twice retiring the Blue Sox in order, but ran into trouble as Brookville attempted to pull away in the sixth.
Following an infield error that allowed the leadoff batter to reach base, Griffin Ruhlman staked the visiting team to a 2-0 lead with an RBI double, and Ruhlman advanced to third base on an error in the outfield to chase Baker from the game.
Kovacik Insurance’s Braden Staats induced a double-play groundout by the first batter he faced, but a walk, a hit batsman and a third error in the inning allowed Brookville to take a 3-0 lead before the home team escaped the threat.
Kovacik Insurance loaded the bases with no outs to open the bottom of the sixth before Brayden Mickinac drove in both of its runs with an flyball single to center field, cutting the deficit to one, 3-2.
But Geer baited Baker into a double-play and got Staats to groundout to escape the inning, and Brookville tacked on its final four runs in the seventh.
Geer worked around a walk in the bottom of the final inning to seal the win. He finished with six strikeouts and walked two.
Baker allowed four hits, struck out three and was charged with three runs, only one earned, over five innings to take the loss.
Harper had two hits for Brookville, and Ruhlman and Danny Lauer had two RBIs apiece.
For Kovacik Insurance, Hank Skirboll went 2-for-3 with a double and Mickinac had two hits.