HOPWOOD — Gage Gillott scattered three hits and Uniontown made the most of some shoddy fielding in the third inning to advance to the Region 6 American Legion Baseball Tournament title game with an 8-0 win over Brighton Township Monday afternoon at Hutchinson Field.
Uniontown will play the team that emerges from the losers’ bracket — either Hopewell and Brighton Twp. — Tuesday at 4 p.m. Should Uniontown lose that game, a second game would follow to determine which team goes to the state tournament.
Gillott was a beast on the mound with 12 strikeouts. He struck out the side twice, and had strings of six and five in a row. The right-hander had a no-hitter until Zach Harris’ infield single with two outs in the bottom of the third inning.
“We knew this Brighton Township team can hit. With a guy like Gage on the mound, with an arm like that, it’s big to have him,” said Uniontown manager Brad Yohman. “I’m proud of his effort. The kid was a bulldog on the mound.”
Gillott gave way to Cole Shearer because of pitch count with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“The pitch count starts to fill up with a lot of strikeouts. Strikeouts eat up a lot of pitches, but to his credit he was very efficient to get a big strikeout or a ground out,” said Yohman.
Brighton Township threatened in the sixth after Gillott walked Antonio Petrella and JJ Shellcross singled around a fly out to center field. But, the Uniontown defense turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
“The double play allows us to get Gage through to two batters in the seventh inning. That was big,” said Yohman.
Shearer walked the first batter he faced before ending the game with a ground out to second baseman Santino Marra.
“We were going to have Cole close it out. He came in and closed the door,” said Yohman. “Cole Shearer is old school. He’s a classic ball player.”
While Gillott and the Uniontown defense was shutting down Brighton Township, the offense made the most of miscues from the opposing defense to post eight runs in the top of the third inning.
Uniontown scored a run in its first at-bat after Gillott was hit with the first pitch from Mitch Lang. He moved to second on a walk to Ty Sankovich, stole third and scored on Brant Bonadio’s single.
Uniontown got to Lang again in the third inning.
Santino Marra was hit by a pitch in the back to start the inning. Shearer also was hit by a pitch and Bonadio walked to load the bases. Marra scored on a mishandled ball by the shortstop hit by Braeden O’Brien.
Kaleb Scott’s grounder to short was booted for a second run. Joe Chambers greeted Joe Obrist with a run-scoring single and O’Brien came home on a balk.
CJ Gesk walked to load the bases again. Gillott flew out to right field and Scott tagged up, but Garrett Ponder’s throw was true for a double play.
Marra singled in his second at-bat in the inning to bring home the eighth run before Brighton Township was finally able to get the third out.
“We preach hit the ball in play, and it happened. It showed with hard hit balls and it paid off,” said Yohman. “Plus, the hustle plays on the bag (on the errors) helped keep the inning alive.
“We knew we had to make (Lang) throw pitches. He was spraying the zone and he was getting frustrated.”
Uniontown wasn’t able to muster much offense after the third inning with only one hit and one hit batter.