BLUE BELL, Pa. - A bases-loaded hit batsman forced in the decisive run in a four-run eighth inning, lifting Montgomery to a 10-7 win over the Trailblazers of Luzerne County Community College on Thursday afternoon. With the victory, the Mustangs remained a perfect 5-0 in both Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (EPAC) and Region XIX play.
It was a seesaw game that wasn't decided until pitcher Chuck Delagol came on to record the final two outs with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth.
Clinging to a one-run lead after five innings, the Trailblazers took a 7-6 lead in their half of the sixth. But the Mustangs staged a two-out rally in the eighth to secure the comeback win.
With one out, Luke Pollock and Mark Ferrier laced back-to-back singles up the middle. Vince Catagnus grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners at the corners. Matt Kellar followed with an RBI single to score Pollock to tie the game. Then, a fielding error on Luzerne's third baseman allowed Paul Meagher to reach first and load the bases.
Luzerne's self-inflicted wounds continued as Catagnus crossed the plate with the go-ahead run when Kevin Neumann was hit by a pitch. Kellar and Meagher later scored on wild pitches to give the Mustangs some insurance runs entering the final frame.
Pitcher Don Halbruner, who had relieved starter Jake Hoffman in the fifth inning, opened the ninth with a strikeout. But a hit batsman sandwiched between a single and an infield hit allowed Luzerne to load the bases. At that point Coach Lou Lombardo called upon Delagol, who had pitched five innings in a rain-shortened win over Northampton on Tuesday. Delagol entered and needed just three pitches to strike out the first batter he faced. Four pitches later, the game ended on a foul-out to first baseman Catagnus.
Both teams committed costly errors throughout the game. In fact, Montgomery's scored its first 2 runs in the opening frame thanks to a throwing error by Luzerne's shortstop. The Trailblazers struck back with three runs in the second inning to take the lead.
But the Mustangs responded with a four-run third. Ferrier's leadoff triple sparked the offensive attack. Catagnus reached base after being hit by a pitch. Kellar plated Ferrier with a single to left. Catagnus scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow right by Meagher. Neumann then stroked an RBI single to left to score Kellar. Donovan Squartino reached base on a fielder's choice throwing error and later scored on another throwing error.
Luzerne chipped away with solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the latter of which came on a balk called on Halbruner.
Montgomery now shifs its attention to a Friday afternoon game at Cumberland County College.