Controversial call, hot hitting help Franklin Regional baseball rout Latrobe

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 8:34 PM


Franklin Regional was as delighted as Latrobe was dejected after a controversial call in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday seemed to flip momentum sharply in the Panthers’ favor and sent them on their way to a 13-3, five-inning victory in the second game of the teams’ Section 1-5A baseball series.

It also helped that the bats came alive again for the second-ranked Panthers (6-0, 4-0), who added an exclamation point to the back-loaded victory while Latrobe was tacking on a question mark after getting swept Tuesday at Haymaker Park.

“Our timing was off early, but once we got through the order the first time, we all found it the second time through,” said Panthers senior shortstop Louis Kegerreis, who singled, doubled, tripled and drove in four runs. “We were happy to get it going.”

With big innings becoming their long suit, the Panthers have outscored their last three opponents 35-7.

They beat Latrobe, 14-1, on Monday night, erupting for seven runs in the seventh. This time, they put up seven in the fourth and six more in the fifth to mercy-rule the Wildcats (4-4, 1-2), who led 2-0 and had the Panthers swinging warily at senior Rayce King’s pitches.

King did not allow a hit until a long, contentious fourth.

The maligned call happened after the Panthers got their first hit — a leadoff single by Kegerreis — and another by senior Timmy Quinn. Junior catcher Thomas Nicely then tied it 2-2 with a bases-loaded two-run single — aided by an error.

The Panthers had runners at second and third with one out when Quinn headed home on a grounder by junior teammate Jack Bridges. But instead of sliding, Quinn leaped over the catcher — and the plate.

Quinn, who was not tagged despite an on-time throw as he soared over catcher Logan Short, stepped a few feet toward his dugout and stopped, then made a sudden U-turn behind the plate and reached around to touch the plate.

The base umpire initially called Quinn out, but the home plate umpire, despite not making an official signal, eventually called him safe.

“That call changed the complexion of the game,” visibly frustrated Latrobe coach Matt Basciano said. “We thought the call was out, and then (Quinn) started toward the dugout and we thought he gave himself up. Rayne was pitching his butt off, and for it to go that way … I am proud of our kids for scoring a run in the next inning.”

Franklin Regional coach Bobby Saddler was pleased with what his team did in another breakout inning.

“It was a tough call,” Saddler said of the call at home. “It worked out in our favor. I don’t know if that call sparked momentum. We just executed after that, and it led to a big inning.”

Quinn knew he wasn’t tagged but needed a second to realize he had not touched the plate before he finally did to make it 3-2.

“If I slide there, I am out,” he said. “So I jumped. It was a hectic play. It was nice to see us come alive after that. All it takes is one hit to start an inning. The last couple games we have battled some adversity.”

Winning pitcher Luke Treloar added a sacrifice fly, junior Caden Smith followed with a run-scoring single and Kegerreis lifted a two-run double to center to make it 7-2.

In the fifth, with senior reliever Tommy Ciesielski on the mound, a single, error and wild pitch set up senior Trevor Brncic’s two-run single. With the bases jammed again, Smith ripped another single to make it 11-3.

Kegerreis capped it with a one-out triple to deep center that also scored two and gave the Panthers the 10-run win.

“We were down against Penn-Trafford here, too” Kegerreis said. “We showed we could battle through a tough situation.”

Smith had three RBIs, and he and Quinn went 2 for 3. Senior Drew Clair had two hits, and junior Vinny Amatucci had an RBI for Latrobe.

Franklin Regional made four errors, including two that led to runs for the Wildcats.

“Franklin is a great ball club,” Basciano said. “They handed it to us (Monday). Today, we put up a fight. It’s a shame it happened the way it did.”

Speaking of being safe at home, the win was the 10th in a row for Franklin Regional at Haymaker Park.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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