Shamokin baseball survives North Schuylkill
COAL TOWNSHIP - Shamokin didn't panic when North Schuylkill opened with a 2-0 lead.
The Indians didn't even fret when the Spartans scored another five in the third inning for a 7-1 advantage.
And that fact, as much as that the Indians got the bat on the ball and hit it hard or didn't commit a single error in the last four innings in the field resulted in what may go down as a huge 12-7 non-conference win over North Schuylkill.
"It was a good win against a good program," Shamokin head coach Billy Clark said. "I know that that's their first loss of the season. I knew they'd be pretty good; they usually are. They have a couple kids who can hit and this is a good win.
"The best thing about it is the way we won. The first part of the game was almost like we didn't wake up, like the alarm clock didn't go off yet. But after the third inning, we just poured it on."
When that proverbial alarm sounded the Indians found themselves down 2-0.
The Spartans' Bobby Grigas started the game with a single and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Jake Damiter then singled and Matt Smarkanic brought Grigas home on a fielder's choice.
Tom Gallagher reached on an error that also scored Damiter, but Gallagher later ran the Spartans out of the inning and himself out of the game when he decided to lower his shoulder going into home plate.
Shamokin's Austin Fry got back one of those runs in the second inning when he reached on an error and was brought in by Paul Gurba.
But the Spartans started the third inning with five runs against starting pitcher Darien Craft to take that 7-1 lead.
The Indians started to chip away immediately.
"You have to be able to recover because you're going to have bad innings. You have to have that mentality of turning the page," Clark said. "We have a lot of older guys who have been around and that helped us today. They knew it was a long game and we have five more at-bats and to take it one at a time."
Julian Deitrick and Mike Rodarmel both reached and scored on a two-run single up the middle by Fry.
Then in the fourth, Gurba and Nate Malett started the inning with back-to-back singles and each scored to cut the Spartans' lead to 7-5.
"I think we figured out that we can hit and once we got down 7-1 we still weren't out of the game," Clark said. "We put together some great at-bats and hit the ball hard. The last four or five innings we were stroking the ball, and that's the best we've hit it in a while."
All the while, the Spartans' bats went quiet once Gurba replaced Craft on the mound.
Gurba allowed just one baserunner in four innings, retiring 12 straight after giving up a walk to the first batter he faced.
The Indians' senior was front and center for the offense, too.
He and Quinn O'Day, who was pinch running for Brody Young, scored on a Malett single to right.
And then in the Indians' sixth inning, Gurba gave Shamokin its first lead of the game when he doubled to left to score Fry and Young, then scored himself on a Malett single.
When all was said and done, the Indians scored five runs in the sixth before Gurba finished the Spartans off in the seventh.
"I can't say enought about Paul Gurba," Clark gloated. "That's the second time this week he came in and shut the door. The Mount Carmel game was getting close, and this time we needed him to hold them right where they were. They didn't touch him.
"He's had a great weekend. He had a couple hits. He's the lead in the play. He's going to get the key to the city pretty soon."
Theo Deptula also had a pair of singles for the Indians.
NORTH SCHUYLKILL (AB-R-H-BI) - Grigas 4-1-1-0, Demansky 3-1-0-0, Damiter 3-2-1-0, Smarkanic 4-1-1-2, Gallagher 1-0-0-0, Reese 3-1-1-1, Stokes 2-1-0-0, Steinhilber 2-0-0-0, Onuskonicz 2-0-0-0, Sanayka 1-0-0-0, Wiley 0-0-0-0, Balkiewicz 1-0-0-0. Totals 26-7-4-3.
SHAMOKIN (AB-R-H-BI) - Deptula 4-1-2-1, Rodarmel 3-1-0-0, Tillett 3-0-0-0, Fry 3-2-1-2, Young 3-1-0-1, O'Day 0-1-0-0, Gurba 4-3-3-3, Malett 4-1-3-3, Ju. Deitrick 3-1-1-0, Jo. Deitrick 2-1-1-0, Miller 1-0-0-1, Craft 0-0-0-0. Totals 30-12-11-11.
Extra-base hits: 2B - Smarkanic, Gurba 2.
IP H R ER BB K
Wiley 4 4 5 3 1 1
Smarkanic (L) 2 6 7 5 1 1
Craft 3 4 7 4 1 1
Gurba (W) 4 0 0 0 1 6