Franklin Regional rallies past Fox Chapel in extra-inning battle
By: Michael Love
Friday, April 5, 2019 | 8:04 PM
The Franklin Regional baseball team fell behind by four runs after three innings of Friday’s Section 1-5A matchup at Fox Chapel.
The Panthers took the lead in the sixth and saw the Foxes tie it in the bottom of the seventh.
But a one-out RBI single from Bryce Harper in the top of the eighth put Franklin Regional ahead again, and Andrew Muraco and the Panthers defense made the lead stand up in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 7-6 victory.
“We talked as a team when it was 5-1 that if we get quality at-bats, we were going to be there in the end,” Franklin Regional coach Bobby Saddler said. “They gave themselves a chance to win, and hat’s off to them for doing that. The guys believe in themselves and each other, and the coaches believe in them. That was a good win for us against a quality team.”
Both teams came into the game 1-0 in section play. Franklin Regional, which was stung by a big comeback by Plum in its season opener Monday, improved to 2-1 overall.
The loss was Fox Chapel’s first in four contests.
“Franklin Regional is a really good team, and that game could’ve gone either way,” Fox Chapel coach Jim Hastings said. “They got the better of us today, but we’re looking forward to the rematch later in the season. That game had a playoff-like feel to it, and both sides were really into it. We know we both have pretty good teams. It was just a great game.”
Muraco got the first two Fox Chapel batters in the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout and a fly out to right field, but Gavin Donaldson kept the Foxes alive with a single.
Matt Jerpe then came up and laced a liner toward second that was caught for the final out of the game.
Muraco spelled Panthers starter Mike Klingensmith in the third inning with no outs, a runner on second and Fox Chapel ahead 5-4.
He helped retire three straight batters in the inning with no further damage. In five innings, Muraco gave up three hits and one run while striking out five and walking two.
“Andrew seemed to get ahead in the count, and he didn’t let adversity bother him,” Saddler said.
“That’s the type of player Andrew is. He’s a bulldog on the mound. He wants the ball in these situations, and we have all the confidence he’s going to get the job done.”
Each team finished with nine hits.
Tommy Kegerreis, the No. 3 hitter in the Franklin Regional lineup, reached base in all five of his plate appearances with a triple, two doubles, a pair of walks, a run batted in and three runs.
Louie Kegerreis added a double and two RBIs.
“Everyone is doing their job, whether it’s at the plate or on defense, and it’s getting the job done,” Tommy Kegerreis said. “We were confident we had the ability to score runs and make a comeback.”
Franklin Regional also scored runs on a balk and a pair of wild pitches.
Fox Chapel’s TJ Johnston doubled and drove in two runs, and Jacob Gruden and Jonathan Simon also produced RBIs for the Foxes.
Jerpe tripled to kick off Fox Chapel’s rally in the bottom of the seventh, and pinch hitter Brendan Stipetich followed with a run-scoring single to tie the score.
Mitchell Miles, pitching in relief for the Foxes, took the loss. He led off the game with a single and came around to score his team’s first run on a balk.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .