Mudcats walk past Snappers to even Daily News League championship series

Sunday, August 9, 2020 | 10:30 PM

After dropping the opener of the best-of-three Daily News League baseball championship series, the Quinn Construction Mudcats treated the bottom of the first inning of Game 2 like a walk in the park.

The Mudcats sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning and ended up with two hits, six walks and a decisive five runs in what would be an 8-2 victory over the defending champion Snappers on Sunday.

Thomas Jefferson graduate Mike Huber singled home two runs off Snappers starter D.J. Cannon (Mars) while three runs scored on bases-loaded walks.

“He just didn’t have it, plain out didn’t have it today,” Snapper manager Clarke White said of Cannon. “It’s not what we wanted to start the game. We got in a hole and couldn’t dig ourselves out.”

The Snappers had chances early but could only score one run in the first two innings while leaving five men on base.

After that, Mudcats starting pitcher Greg Frederick (Quaker Valley) settled in and allowed only one run on five hits over the final five innings to pick up the complete game win.

“Third and fourth inning, I felt like I really settled in a little bit more,” Frederick said. “Early on, I didn’t have the secondary pitches working as well as I wanted. Once I got that in the mix, everything went a little smoother.”

Smooth at the plate was Mudcats left fielder Tarran Senay (South Park). After going 0 for 2 in Game 1, Senay singled and scored in the first inning, then later that same inning just missed on a grand slam when his long fly ball to dead center field was caught by Pat McCarthy (Baldwin) in front of the fence.

However, there were no near misses his next at-bat when he drilled one off the scoreboard beyond the fence in right-center field at Winhklevoss Park in West Mifflin to give the Mudcats a 7-1 lead.

“That one I didn’t think I hit that well,” Senay said. “I was out in front of it but caught the barrel and it carried somehow to right center.”

AJ Olasz (West Mifflin) drove in a run in the sixth inning for the Mudcats with a single, and the Snappers answered in the seventh inning when Dan McCarthy doubled home brother Mike for the game’s final run.

A key play in the game happened early when the Mudcats had Eric Fairman (Thomas Jefferson) at second and Senay at first with nobody out. It appeared Cannon had Fairman picked off at second base, but the Snappers infield had both runners in a rundown and did not record an out.

“I guess a lot of people forget about that,” Mudcats manager Tom Simcho said. “Fairman is very aggressive and I’m thinking, Eric, don’t you steal with a 3-2 count, but we were able to escape.”

Two of the next four batters were retired by Cannon, who only lasted two-thirds of an inning. If the Snappers get an out in the rundown, they would have escaped with a scoreless first inning.

Instead, both teams prepare for a third and decisive game at 6 p.m. Monday at Millennium Park in Bethel Park as the 2018 champion Mudcats face the 2019 champion Snappers.

Simcho said after Game 1 that they would be returning to Millennium for Monday. He would make no guarantees after Game 2.

“I knew who we had on the mound (Sunday) and that’s our guy,” Simcho said. “Now we’ll see what happens.”

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