No. 2 Yough holds off No. 4 Knoch in Section 1-4A showdown

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | 7:35 PM

Yough scored three runs in the fifth inning and added a run in the sixth before holding off a rally to defeat Knoch, 4-1, in a Section 1-4A baseball game Tuesday afternoon at Kelly Automotive Park in Butler.

The fourth-ranked Knights loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh but were unable to score.

The win keeps the No. 2 Cougars (8-1, 10-4) alone in first place in Section 1, a game and a half ahead of No. 5 Greensburg Salem (10-2, 6-2) and now three games in front of third-place Knoch (5-4, 9-4).

“This game was a pretty big win for us,” said Sean Royer, who picked up the save for the Cougars. “Knowing that Knoch was third in our section and having a good pitcher like Bach not do his best early, but do pretty decent.”

Senior left-hander Jarett Bach, a Pitt recruit, gave up an unearned run in the first inning.

Issac Love walked, Ethan Sloane singled and after a wild pitch and two strikeouts, Love scored when Yough first basemen Mike Bell booted Braden Tristani’s ground ball into foul territory. Bell recovered and threw out Sloane at the plate as he tried to score from second.

“I really didn’t have my fastball command, so I decided to go off-speed and try to get ahead,” Bach said.

The game remained 1-0 thanks to the pitching of Knoch’s Travis Mowery, who limited Yough to two hits through four innings.

However, the Cougars got to the senior lefty in the fifth. Noah Manns drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on Cody Ulander’s hit.

Then with Ulander on the move, Ray Halahurich executed a perfect hit-and-run single through the vacant hole at shortstop to score Manns.

Ulander scored on Bach’s RBI single to right, and after a bases-loaded walk to Steve Manon, Bell’s sacrifice fly scored Halahurich to give Yough a 3-0 lead.

The Cougars added a run in the sixth when Nate Wilkins, running for Vinny Martin, who had doubled, scored on a wild pitch.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the seventh, though, when Knoch loaded the bases on a walk to Jack Bartek, a single by Eli Sutton and an error on Bach after he was lifted and took over at first base.

Royer then struck out Blaze Voltz, got Love to fly out to shallow center field and then ended the game by picking off courtesy runner Caleb Traggiai at second base.

“When I saw Steve Mann give me that sign and I looked back and the runner at second was really far off, I knew we had him,” Royer said.

The Cougars visit Greensburg Salem on Wednesday for another key Section 1 showdown.

“We’re playing really well this year,” Bach said. “We have a great chemistry, and it’s been really fun, so we want to keep it going.“

Knoch is a half-game ahead of fourth-place Highlands (8-6, 4-4) and one game ahead of fifth place Mt. Pleasant (6-7, 4-5). The Knights will host the Vikings on Thursday afternoon.

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