Freshman Austin Grego delivered a two-run, walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give host Uniontown a dramatic 11-10 win over Greensburg Salem in a back-and-forth Section 3-AAAA baseball battle on Tuesday.
“Super proud of the boys,” Uniontown coach Ken Musko said. “We’re young and we made some costly mistakes but also bounced back with some much needed offense we’ve been missing.”
The Red Raiders (1-2, 1-2) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead in the fifth only to watch the Lions (1-2, 1-2) push across six runs in the top of the sixth to go up 10-5.
Undaunted, Uniontown scored four times in the bottom of the sixth as Hunter Chaikcic, Tate Musko and Colt Sparks each had an RBI to whittle the gap to one heading into the seventh.
After Aden Martin came on to throw a scoreless inning of relief, the Red Raiders’ Andrew Maher drew a lead-off walk off Brayden Merichko in the bottom of the seventh. Eric Odum’s attempt to sacrifice the runner to second wound up being a perfectly placed bunt single. Martin also laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached safely when Maher beat the throw to third, loading the bases.
That set the stage for Grego who drove the first pitch to deep right field, bringing in Maher with the tying run and Odum with the winning run.
Martin earned the win while Merichko took the loss.
Odum and Tanner Uphold both doubled and singled and Chaikcic singled twice for Uniontown which also got a home run from Tate Musko.
Greensburg Salem took a 2-0 lead in the first on Hayden Teska’s two-run single and added a run in the third off Uniontown starting pitcher Christian Thomas, who allowed four runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
“Christian gave us a chance to win,” coach Musko said.
Tate Musko, another freshman and son of the coach, got the Red Raiders on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
“That kind of gave us a spark,” coach Musko said.
Uphold and Odum followed with back-to-back doubles to make it 3-2.
The Lions put up another run in the top of the fifth before freshman Grayden Plume relieved Thomas and got a key three-pitch strikeout to end the inning. Uniontown came back with three in the bottom of the frame to take a 5-4 lead.
Greensburg Salem fired right back with its six-run sixth which included RBIs from Merichko, Zach O’Bryan, Colin Kruth and Caden Cioffi before the Red Raiders staged their comeback.
“It was an exciting game to watch I’m sure,” Musko said. “To coach, it was stressful but I’m so proud that the team came together and got this win.”
Owen Tutich had two hits for Greensburg Salem. Lions starting pitcher Jacob Smith and surrendered five runs on six hits with five strikeouts in five innings.
Musko’s roster includes a slew of sophomores and freshmen.
“Ninety percent of the team are rookies to varsity baseball,” Musko pointed out. “The future is bright for us but we will have our growing pains. This group is special but young and we have work to do.
“I’m looking forward to the next few years, not just because my son is part of it but because these kids really want to prove something and all are on board.”