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Mars wins pitchers’ duel, takes stranglehold on title series

Cranberry Township pitcher Mike Patsch throws a strike in game 2 on Tuesday in the Eagle County League championship series at North Boundary Park in Cranberry Township. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle. Aug 16th 2022

CRANBERRY TWP — Mike Patsch delivered the type of effort Cranberry Township desperately needed.

Against a potent Mars lineup, the veteran pitcher scattered eight hits Tuesday and allowed just one unearned run in a complete game, but it couldn’t prevent his team from falling into an 0-2 hole in the best-of-five Eagle County League baseball championship series.

His counterpart, Mars’ Jake Seymour, worked a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory at North Boundary Park. Mars (24-6) can wrap up the title in Wednesday’s Game 3 at Callery Field.

“Mike has been pitching for us for about 10 years,” said Cranberry player/manager Bill Clinefelter. “He was the winning pitcher (in the final game) in 2017 when we won the championship and he sure pitched a great game tonight.

“He throws strikes and gets ahead of hitters. This is a big ballpark and it fits him perfectly.”

The only run of the game came in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Rick Devereaux doubled, followed by Brendan Malone’s single and the former came home on a throwing error.

Seymour allowed at least one base runner in every inning except the seventh, but successfully defused every chance Cranberry (22-9) had to score.

In the bottom of the second, he struck out Clinefelter to leave runners at second and third.

In the fourth, the one inning in which Cranberry tallied more than one hit, Seymour overcame back-to-back singles from Brandon Pouch and Brandon Solomon, leaving the mound with runners at first and third.

“He throws a slider when he needs an out and they couldn’t touch it,” said Mars player/manager Brendan Malone.

“Normally, I go to it with two strikes in the count, low and away,” said Seymour, a former star at LaRoche University who earned All-America honors in 2021.

Seymour also benefitted from fine defensive play behind him. Third baseman Colin Williamson stole at least a double away from Tyler Yough when, on his knees, he snared a ball headed for the left-field corner in the fifth.

In the next inning, Jim Pasquine caught a fly ball off the bat of Johnny Brittner an instant before it would have hit the ground in right field.

Malone was not pleased with his team’s offense.

“We’ve faced him (Patsch) a number of times over the years and he does a good job of mixing his speeds and making you get yourself out,” he said, “but I counted at least five times we ran into outs on the base paths, between getting caught stealing and picked off.”

Mars 100 000 0 — 1 8 1

Cranberry Twp. 000 000 0 — 0 5 3

W: Jake Seymour 7 IP (6K, 2BB). L: Mike Patsch 7 IP (0K, 3BB).

Mars: Zach Murray 2-1B, Rick Devereaux 1B 2B R, Brendan Malone 1B, Scott Ventura 2-1B, Jim Musgrove 1B

Cranberry Township: Evan Oswald 2B, Jesse Clary 1B, Brandon Pouch 1B 2B, Brandon Solomon 1B

Wednesday: Mars vs. Cranberry Township, Game 3, Callery Field, 6 p.m.

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