Wash High and Chartiers-Houston were locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning of Monday’s game at Washington Park.
The Prexies were running out of time and needed something good to happen. They got one run in unexpected fashion and Jesse Spara’s clutch hit produced another with a clutch hit in a 2-0 victory over the Bucs in Section 2-AA.
“That was a big win,” Spara said. “I told myself I had to drive the ball, and I did.”
Kurt Adkins led off for the sixth by drawing a walk, Connor Bedillion followed with a bunt single, and Jarell Dates walked to load the bases with no outs.
On the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat to Chris Gouin, a breaking ball got past Bucs catcher Dom Dinardo to give Wash High a 1-0 lead. Chartiers-Houston pitcher Alec Ferrari walked another batter but got the first out of the inning on a fielder’s choice. That brought Spara, the Prexies’ senior second baseman, to the plate.
Down 0-2 in the count, Spara pulled a curve ball to left field for a single and a 2-0 lead that would stand thanks to Wash High’s strong pitching.
Spara, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts heading into the key at-bat, admitted he was nervous when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded.
“I told myself that I had to stay calm and wait for my pitch,” Spara said. “I already had two strikes so I knew a breaking ball was coming. I waited and drove it to left.”
After having the bases loaded on two previous occasions, Wash High (2-1, 3-3) capitalized with Ferrari beginning to show signs of fatigue. While it was the offense that gave the Prexies the lead, their two pitchers shut Chartiers-Houston (1-1, 2-1) down for seven innings.
Senior Lincoln Key started the game and, outside of allowing two walks in the first inning, was dominant with five strikeouts while surrendering just two hits in four innings. After Key exited, junior left-hander Jonathan Spina took over on the mound and continued to stump Bucs batters with breaking balls low and outside.
Spina, who earned his second win of the season, allowed just one hit in three innings with three strikeouts. The junior spent the first four innings in center field, where he had a perfect view of Chartiers-Houston’s at-bats. He observed what was working for Key, what the umpire’s strike zone looked like and the tendencies of the Buccaneers.
“It’s definitely different coming in as a reliever, but it’s not that bad,” Spina said. “I did it over the summer and with the way Lincoln was throwing, it makes it easier.”
Wash High head coach Rocky Plassio loves having a right-handed pitcher and a lefty to face opponents. While his pitching staff is not deep, the flexibility allows him to take advantage of matchups.
“With the type of baseball game this was, you need great defense and some timely hitting,” Plassio said. “We had great pitching performances, and it’s nice having that combo to lean on. They’re doing a great job and the guys behind them played great defense.”
The Buccaneers never threatened as they had runners in scoring position only twice and failed to do so in the final three innings. Wash High has left 16 runners on base over the past two games, eight against C-H and eight against Waynesburg Saturday.
“We have to get the bats alive,” Plassio said. “We’re trying to do anything to manufacture runs and hopefully we are starting to break through.”