HOPWOOD — Uniontown jumped out to a 4-0 lead Friday night and visiting Smithfield-Fairchance was unable to recover in a 10-0 loss in Fayette County American Legion Baseball League action at Hutchinson Park.
The mercy rule was called with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Uniontown improves to 9-1 and is assured the regular season league title with two games remaining. The victory also means five teams will earn a berth into the upcoming Region 6 Tournament at Hutchinson Park.
Smithfield-Fairchance was already assured a berth into the tournament, closing the season with a 7-5 record. The team will need to wait until Tuesday for where it will finish in the standings.
“We came in intimidated. That’s the way I came into the game,” said Smithfield-Fairchance manager Steve Strange. “That’s on me.
“We won’t do that again this season. We just have to be ourselves.”
Uniontown scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Ty Becker walked with one out and Santino Marra was hit on top of the helmet.
Dylan Shea was poised to escape the inning when he got Cole Shearer to pop out to the shortstop, but Brant Bonadio ripped a run-scoring single to right field.
Alex McClain followed with a sharply hit ball to third base and beat the throw to bring home Marra. The throw was errant, allowing McClain to advance to second base.
Joe Chambers’ single scored Bonadio and Caleb Scott’s base hit brought McClain to the plate. The inning ended with left fielder Ben Diamond throwing out Chambers at third base.
“You second guess yourself when you get down. When you get down to a team with Laurel Highlands, Connellsville and Uniontown kids, you get in a little bit of trouble,” said Strange. “You can’t spot a team like that four runs.”
Uniontown nearly doubled its lead with three runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Braeden McKnight was safe on an errant throw and moved to second base on the overthrow to open the inning. He stole third, holding the bag with his toe as Smithfield-Fairchance third baseman Jerrett Dempsey reapplied the tag.
Ty Becker walked with one out as Johnny Skochelak replaced starter Dylan Shea. Marra greeted Skochelak with a run-scoring single.
Shearer followed with a run-producing single and Bonadio’s fielder’s choice brought home Marra to push the Uniontown lead to 7-0.
“We shook the lineup a little bit today. We’ve been leaving a lot of guys on base and I wanted to see if we could get some guys to bring in runs, and they did,” said Uniontown manager Brad Yohman. “We actually got off to a good start and capitalized on our chances.”
The home team increased its lead to 9-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Shearer singled with two outs and moved to second on Bonadio’s single. Shearer advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw.
McClain’s single easily scored Shearer and Bonadio came home when Joe Chambers was safe on an errant throw to first base. Scott walked to load the bases, but Skochelak escaped further damage when McKnight flew out to left field.
Uniontown invoked the mercy rule in the sixth inning. The home team loaded the bases on a double, walk and intentional walk with two outs.
Ty Sankovich had the game-ending RBI when he beat the throw to Skochelak covering first base for an infield single.
Braeden O’Brien and Alex McClain combined on a one-hitter. The lone hit was a single from Ben Diamond with one out in the top of the first inning off O’Brien, but was erased on an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Uniontown turned another inning-ending double play in the second inning, and O’Brien made a couple nifty defensive plays on a high chopper and sharp line drive.
O’Brien walked four and struck out one in four innings. McClain walked one batter and had three strikeouts.
“We wanted Braeden to put work in and then give Alex work in the back end,” said Yohman. “Braeden battled through and he fielded his position great.
“We turned two double plays. If we don’t, it could be a different game.”
Although his team ended the regular season on a down note, Strange was certain Smithfield-Fairchance will be ready when the Region 6 tournament begins Friday.
“In some ways, to get beat like this could be good for us. We’ll practice Tuesday. I have no doubt we’ll be ready Friday,” said Strange.