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Frustrating loss for Tornado

Butler limits Pine-Richland to 3 hits in 3-2 baseball defeat

Mavrik Clement thought he delivered a potential game-winning hit for Butler on Wednesday afternoon at Pullman Park.

It turned into a game-changing play instead.

The Golden Tornado and Pine-Richland were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Noah Collins and Carson Bish singled during the inning, both moving up on a two-out wild pitch. Clement then drilled a liner inside third that Rams third baseman Anthony Annichine dove for and caught to end the inning.

The Rams pushed across a run in the top of the sixth and held on for a 3-2 Section 1-6A baseball win over Butler.

“If that ball gets down the line, we score two runs and the entire dynamic of this game changes,” Butler coach Josh Forbes said. “That ball was starched.”

“Huge defensive play ... probably saved the game for us,” Rams coach Kurt Wolfe admitted.

Butler starting pitcher Boden Lenyk walked eight in 4.1 innings before being forced from ther mound on pitch count. He left with a 2-1 lead, however, courtesy of Nolan Stefaniak’s two-out, two-run double in the Tornado fourth. Lenyk allowed only one hit.

His final walk — to Sam Heckert with one out in the fifth — came around to score as courtesy runner Thomas Kapanowski stole second, went to third on an errant throw and crossed the plate on a wild pitch to knot the game.

“We haven’t been hitting the ball very well lately,” Wolfe said. “We’ve had to find ways to scratch out runs and we were able to do that today.”

Freshman pitcher Trent Best replaced Lenyk on the mound. After getting two outs to end the fifth, Best hit Jake Waddell with a pitch to start the sixth. Waddell stole second and score on pinch-hitter Ben Husted’s single to center.

Pine-Richland (7-2, 3-1) won for the sixth time in seven games. The Rams stole eight bases on Wednesday.

Butler (3-5, 1-4) — which will play Thursday at North Allegheny for its sixth section game in five days — has dropped three straight.

With one out in the seventh, Butler’s Liam McElroy smashed a hard ground ball inside first that first baseman Waddell scooped off the turf. From his backside, he flipped to pitcher Tristan Farrar for the out. McElroy was 0-for-4 despite hitting the ball hard all four times.

“One of those things,” Forbes said. “Those same balls Liam hit today will go for hits later in the season or in the playoffs. We’re hoping it goes that way.

“We’re a young team with only three starters back. We’re still getting bat by our own mistakes, but we’ll get better with experience. Pine-Richland has a veteran team back and when you’re the inferior team, you can’t afford to make the mistakes we’re making. We handed them everything they got today.”

Pine-Richland 100 011 0 — 3 3 2

Butler 000 200 0 — 2 6 2

WP: Nathan Kush 5IP (4k, 3bb). LP: Trent Best 2.2IP (1k, 0bb).

Pine-Richland (7-2, 3-1): Ben Husted 1B RBI, Reece Rupert 2B 1B.

Butler (3-5, 1-4): Boden Lenyk 2B 1B, Noah Collins 1B, Carson Bish 1B, Mavrik Clement 1B, Nolan Stefaniak 2B 2RBI .

Thursday: Butler at North Allegheny

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