Mudcats edge Snappers in Game 3 to win 2020 Daily News League championship

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Monday, August 10, 2020 | 11:32 PM


Eric Fairman may have been at the top of the Mudcats batting order, but on Monday night in the third and deciding game of the 2020 Daily News League championship series, the Thomas Jefferson grad was in the middle of his team’s two rallies.

Fairman doubled to set up two runs in the third inning, then tripled to drive home a third run and scored on a sacrifice fly as the Quinn Construction Mudcats defeated the Snappers, 4-2, to win the best-of-three series, 2-1.

“It feels great,” Fairman said. “I just got off an NABA championship the other day, and I’ve never won two (titles) in one summer. It was fantastic to win the second one tonight.”

In a scoreless third inning, Fairman doubled one out after Luke Hils (Central Catholic) led off with a walk. Tarran Senay (South Park) grounded out to score Hils and Jim Pasquine (Poland, Ohio) singled home Fairman to make it 2-0 Mudcats.

The Snappers tied the game with two unearned runs in the fourth innings when Tyler Holland (Baldwin) delivered a two-out, two-run single that scored Clay Groff (Allderdice) and Tom McCarthy (Baldwin).

Fairman delivered again in the fifth inning when he drove a shot off the center field fence, just over the head of the Snappers’ Pat McCarthy (Baldwin).

“Everyone was unhappy on the bench after we gave up the 2-0 lead,” Fairman said. “I looked at a few of my teammates and I said I’m going to make everybody happy again with the next big hit this inning.”

The triple scored Logan Simmons with the go-ahead run. Fairman then scored on Senay’s sacrifice fly for the game’s final run.

Mudcats starting pitcher Corry Ryan (Bethel Park) danced in and out of trouble through his six innings of work but made big pitches when he needed to.

“Once I get into those situations where there could be runs scored, I bring it 110 percent,” Ryan said. “I say if you’re going to hit me, you’re going to hit me at my best. They’re a great hitting team, and I’m really happy it worked out today.”

Quinn Construction shortstop Jake McCaskey (Deer Lakes) came in to pitch the seventh inning. He picked up the save even though the Snappers threatened with the tying runs on base when Mike McCarthy (Baldwin) flied to center and Dave McCarthy (Baldwin) struck out.

The Daily News League title is the second in three years for the Mudcats and the team’s fifth championship since 2013.

“It never gets old,” Mudcats manager Tom Simcho said. ‘This feeling just doesn’t go away. It’s a great feeling. I think it’s a lot of relationships, guys that have been with me for over 10 years and maybe some younger kids who see what it’s like. When you’ve been in this league for so long, it really means something to you.”

Simcho has been a player and coach in the Daily News League for 32 years.

His counterpart, Snappers manager Clarke White, was dealing with the reality that his team was so close to repeating as DNL champions but just came up short.

“Timely hitting,” White said, “we just didn’t have it the last two days. You go through the whole season and work hard to get to this point and you come up short, it doesn’t feel good.”

The Snappers had only five hits but drew four walks, had three batters hit with pitches and reached on one Mudcats error.

Sean Kealy (Baldwin) went the distance and suffered the loss for the Snappers, allowing six hits, walking four and striking out six.

The Mudcats’ Pasquine had five hits in the series to lead all hitters.

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