MILL RUN — Mitch's Bail Bonds used a five-run third inning and some strong starting pitcher from Dom Costellic to defeat Mill Run, 8-2, on Tuesday at Mill Run Park in Fayette County Baseball League action.
The All Americans (12-4) avenged an earlier-season loss to the Millers (12-4). Mill Run edged Mitch's, 3-2, on June 2. The two play in the regular-season finale on Thursday at Mill Run Park.
The top two teams will receive byes in the first round of the FCBL playoffs. Thursday's game will most-likely decide whether the All Americans or Millers will receive the second bye. Carmichaels sits atop the standings at 14-2. The third-place team will meet the sixth-place squad and the fourth will play the fifth in a one-game playoff in the opening round. The teams will reseed for the semifinals.
"Between us and Mill Run, one of us is going to be in that play-in game, and that is going to a tough game to win," Mitch's manager Ryan Encapera said. "In all honesty, I don't want to be in that spot. I brought in a couple of young guys and they played well for us."
"It just wasn't our night," Mill Run manager Ray Orndorff said. "It wasn't like we played awful, but it just didn't click for us tonight, and you are going to have those nights. The last few games, it did roll our way, and tonight it didn't.
"Of course, we would like to have a bye in the playoffs, but we will play it out and see what happens. We control our own destiny now. The weather will be a big factor of when we start the playoffs, but we will see what happens."
Mitch's Bail Bonds' five-run third pushed its advantage to 7-1, and that was more than enough run support for Costellic. The recent Penn-Trafford graduate and La Roche University recruit allowed two runs on two hits in four innings. He had four strikeouts and walked two.
Noah Mankin pitched the last three innings. He yielded one run on one hit with three strikeouts and two walks.
"Dom pitches for me for my All American team and he does pretty well," Encapera said. "He has had a great summer. Today, we pitch counted him because he has to go this weekend.
"He is really learning how to be a pitcher, how to be crafty and hit spots. With this Mill Run lineup, if you just throw fastballs, they are going to blow you up. He had to be crafty today, and I thought that he did a pretty good job with that."
"He (Costellic) had very good command and very good stuff on his ball," Orndorff said. "He is a very good ball player, and it is nice to see that competition. We like that."
The All Americans' Louden Conte led off the third with a single, stole second, moved to third on an error before scoring on Adam Jacko's single up the middle for a 3-1 lead.
TJ Lux walked and Jacko scored on Derek Gaisbauer's base hit for a 4-1 advantage.
Orndorff relieved starting pitcher Cam Dodd for Alan VanSickle after Gaisbauer's RBI single.
Drew Garth walked, and with one out, Lenny Piccini cleared the bases with a three-run triple that scored Lux, Gaisbauer and Garth for a 7-1 lead. Piccini, who started at catcher, had two triples and four RBIs.
"We needed a guy today, I called him (Piccini) this morning, and he was available," Encapera said. "It was awesome (referring to the two triples). This was his first county league game. He played a great game and smoked two balls in the gap. It was definitely the difference in the game."
Mill Run cut the deficit to five in the fifth when Bill Bendis singled, Garrett Brooks was hit-by-pitch, Cade Warrick walked and courtesy runner Grant Witt scored when Kris Firestone walked with the bases loaded.
Mitch's Bail Bonds got the run back in the seventh when Darian Bassett and Encapera reached base on errors and Bassett scored on Jacko's base hit.
VanSickle had a solid performance in relief, as he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in four innings. He had five strikeouts and walked one.
"He (VanSickle) settled in and threw very nicely," Orndorff said. "We just didn't muster any offense."
The All Americans took an early lead in the first when Conte singled, stole second and scored on Gaisbauer's single up the middle.
The Millers got the run right back in the bottom of the frame when Brooks tripled and scored on Firestone's RBI fielder's choice.
Mitch's Bail Bonds regained the lead in the second when Michael Klingensmith singled up the middle, stole second and scored on Piccini's first triple for a 2-1 advantage.