Apr. 13—Canon-McMillan pulled out a wild victory over Upper St. Clair on Monday afternoon, thanks in part to a wild pitch.
A bases-loaded wild pitch scored the tying and go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the Big Macs a 6-4 win over the visiting Panthers.
Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Canon-McMillan chased Upper St. Clair starter Eddie Albert and greeted reliever Joe Altvater with three straight singles to load the bases.
When an Altvater pitch went to the backstop, Andrew Kocun scored from third base. Then when Panthers catcher John Brofsky’s throw got past Altvater on the play at the plate, Tyler Greenleaf scored all the way from second base to put the Big Macs up, 5-4.
“We teach read-down angles, so if they see a curve ball spinning and it’s about to bounce, we take off,” Canon-McMillan coach Tim Bruzdewicz said. “The coaches own it if a catcher makes a great play and throws him out.”
While four singles helped the winning rally for Canon-McMillan in the sixth inning, walks helped the teams enjoy big innings in the third and fourth.
The Big Macs (2-1, 3-4) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Albert allowed a single with one out, sandwiched by walks to load the bases. A wild pitch, sacrifice fly and an RBI single helped them build a three-run lead.
USC (1-2, 4-2) answered with four runs in the top of the fourth on only two singles. Three walks and a suicide squeeze to go along with singles by Max Mandler and Hunter Schroeck put the Panthers up, 4-3.
Brandon Adams started for Canon-McMillan on the hill and pitched three-plus innings, allowing three runs on only one hit.
Tyler Greenleaf got the win in relief. He yielded a run on one hit while strike out seven over the final four innings.
“Really excited for Greenleaf. He was really good and came back strong,” Bruzdewicz said. “BA (Adams) was BA. “He was a little off (Monday). BA is probably the best pitcher I’ve seen in a long time that can command the inside strike zone at 79 to 82. We throw in a lot, and he just didn’t have it there.”
The win was a big one for morale for Canon-McMillan. The Big Macs had lost two straight, but they also lost their starting shortstop and center fielder to long term injuries in a loss to Montour on Friday.
“The bottom line is, without Noah Burke, without Nico Marinacci, I think (Tuesday) we might be able to capitalize on them being down and us being positive,” Bruzdewicz said. “If we can get this third win, we’re going to try to play the momentum factor.”
While the Panthers were limited to only two hits, everybody in the new Big Macs order reached base with the exception of Blake Stanton.
However, the Canon-McMillan right fielder left his mark on the game in the third inning of a scoreless contest with a diving catch to rob Upper St. Clair’s Jake Casey of a two-run extra base hit.
“Huge,” Bruzdewicz said of the highlight catch. “Blake came in today 1 for 13, but Blake always does something — throw a guy out at the plate, make a great defensive play, get a bunt over. So we kept him in, and he helps us with the defense.”
The teams meet at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.