Mt. Pleasant baseball stuns No. 5 Ringgold
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 9:44 PM
Mt. Pleasant picked a good time to play its best baseball game of the season.
The Vikings combined clutch pitching, solid defense and timely hitting to stun returning PIAA Class 4A champion No. 5 Ringgold, 8-0, in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs on Wednesday at Seton Hill.
The No. 12 Vikings will play Blackhawk (14-4) on Monday at a site and time to be determined.
Mt. Pleasant, which reached the WPIAL Class 3A finals in 2017, used a defensive play and a Ringgold error to seize the early momentum.
It started when Mt. Pleasant center fielder Trevor Mason threw out Jake Rongaus at the plate trying to score on Josh Peters’ single to end the second inning.
It continued in the top of the third when Kyle Jones, who singled with two outs, scored when Asher O’Connor’s fly ball to center field was dropped by Dylan Wujcik.
“We built off their error,” Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Firmstone said. “We worked all season on capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes. We did and it carried over to the next inning and then we put some hits together and it carried us through.
“If you make the routine plays and don’t give teams extra outs, good things happen and it did. We didn’t give them any extra outs or plate appearances.”
Mt. Pleasant’s bats came alive in the fourth inning. Mike Secosky hit a bases-loaded double to score two and make it 3-0, Cody Surma singled home a run, and Jones doubled home another. The fifth run scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
“It wasn’t one of Josh’s better games,” Ringgold coach Don Roberts said. “He left some pitches up, and they were hitting everything. They came out and played better than us.”
Vikings starter Joe Shrum allowed five hits and three walks while blanking Ringgold over five innings. Jared Wagner pitched the final two innings and allowed a single.
Shrum relied on his defense to make plays. The Vikings turned a double play after Ringgold’s Nicholas Kolano opened the fourth with a hit.
“Joe has been playing the best games of his life,” Wagner said. “Even when we don’t score runs, he never hangs his head. He keeps our morale up. It’s nice to have someone like that keep us up.”
Firmstone said even though Shrum’s record isn’t as good, he has turned in a lot of good performances.
Mt. Pleasant tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh as Pete Billey doubled in one run and Secosky singled in another.
“We hadn’t hit the ball well all year,” Secosky said. “But we were excited to play Ringgold. They were the defending state champions, and we wanted to knock them off.”
Secosky had two hits and three RBIs and Jones went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Billey and Surma each had two hits.
“We had a nice break out today,” Firmstone said. “Our bats have been quiet over the season. We broke out of it and had some fun.”
Kolano had two of Ringgold’s six hits.
“No one gave us a chance,” Firmstone said. “Ringgold is a very good team. It should give a boost of confidence heading into the next game.”
The effort put a smile on the face of team manager Landon Carlson.
“We hit the ball,” Carlson said. “We did the job. Our performance was awesome.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
More Baseball• Highlands Summer Rams suspend activities due to player testing positive for covid-19
• Latrobe rallies for ninth straight victory in Westmoreland County baseball summer league
• So far, so good as Westmoreland County summer baseball league hits season’s midpoint
• Gateway players glad to compete in thriving summer baseball league
• Kiski Area Golden Cavs take extra precautions in return to their home field