MASONTOWN — Nick Pegg scampered home on an errant throw for the game-deciding run in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night to lift Smithfield-Fairchance to a 8-7 victory over visiting Connellsville in Fayette County American Legion Baseball League action.

Pegg and Jerrett Dempsey were on first and second with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning in the waning sunlight when Gavin Smith dropped down a sacrifice bunt.

Smith nearly beat out the bunt and Pegg took a wide turn at third base. The throw across the infield was high and wide of third base, bouncing off the fence. Pegg gathered his balance and sprinted home with the game-winning run.

“Another mental mistake, just plays like that,” said frustrated Connellsville first-year manager Shawn Musgrove. “Give credit to Smithfield-Fairchance. They battled and kept going on.”

“We battled back and didn’t get down on ourselves like we usually do,” said Smithfield-Fairchance first-year manager Bill Simpson.

The unearned run was an unfortunate pattern from earlier in the game for Connellsville. The visitors committed one fielding error, three throwing errors and a mental error in the bottom of the fourth inning that allowed Smithfield-Fairchance (1-4) to score six runs on just two hits.

After Caleb Matzus opened the inning with a walk, Connellsville had three consecutive double play opportunities fail because of a fielding error and two throwing errors.

Courtesy runner Nathan Pegg scored the fourth run of the inning when the catcher fielded the throw on a short-hop with his trail foot in front of the plate with the bases loaded.

Matzus’ second at-bat of the inning produced a two-run single and a 6-3 lead.

“I don’t understand it. That’s the frustrating part of it,” Musgrove said of the miscues. “Mistakes like that are going to kill you. It’s hard.”

The lead grew to 7-3 on Tristan Robinson’s single in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Connellsville fought back with four runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Aidan Newmyer was hit on the top of his helmet to start the inning. Kace Shearer singled Newmyer to third with one out.

Jerry Gales’ fly ball brought Newmyer home. Domer walked to keep the inning alive, and both Shearer and Domer sprinted home on Caleb Burd’s double.

Chase Burd singled Caleb Burd to third base, and Anthony Piasecki came through with the game-tying single.

“They fought back and tied it up,” said Musgrove.

“We also gave (the runs) back in the seventh inning,” said Simpson.

Connellsville was in control of the game heading into the fourth inning with starter Logan Lowery retiring the first nine batters he faced and the visitors holding a 3-0 lead.

Caleb Burd spotted the visitors a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning with a two-run single. Newmyer’s sacrifice fly gave Connellsville a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Connellsville stranded 12 runners, including two in the first, second, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. The visitors pounded out 14 hits, although Simpson praised the effort of his starter Nate McCusker, who pitched into the seventh inning. John Skochelak completed the game for the win.

“Nate usually is our catcher. I gave him a chance to pitch,” said Simpson.

Connellsville (1-6) has a couple weeks left in the regular season to right the ship.

“We’re right there. We need to clean it up. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Musgrave. “I hope (we can turn it around). If we can get everyone here and on the same base, we have to get the job done.”

Smithfield-Fairchance finished with seven hits against a trio of Connellsville pitchers.

“It’s just something that happened. We did hit the ball. We hit it right at them,” said Simpson.

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