Plum comes out swinging, rolls past Jeannette in Western Pa. Baseball League opener

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 | 10:48 PM

Plum and Jeannette didn’t let the threat of rain spoil their Western Pennsylvania Summer Baseball League opener Tuesday evening at Buster Clarkson Field in Jeannette.

The showers that fell on the region in the late afternoon dissipated as the game began, and Plum’s experienced squad showed its strength with an 11-0, five-inning victory.

“We practiced twice last week, and we didn’t have all of our guys, so this was the first time the whole team’s been together, but it worked out pretty good,” Plum coach Tyler Podvasnik said.“They were excited to play, and they came out aggressive. That’s what I liked to see.”

Plum parlayed six hits and seven walks over the first two innings into a 9-0 advantage. The biggest hit over the first two frames came off the bat of Denny Ayres, who cleared the bases with a double in the second.

“It was just great to get back on the field with my brothers, my teammates,” said Ayres, who finished 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs.

“This game was promising for what we can do the rest of the season. We’re going to see some crazy competition within this league. We just have to keep our game up and build from this.”

Plum finished with 10 hits. Logan Foster tripled in the third, and Danny McCaffrey, Max Oliveri and Darian Bassett each recorded doubles in the win.

Oliveri’s double with no outs in the top of the fifth drove in Plum’s 10th run and put the five-inning mercy rule into effect. Oliveri is one of two Penn Hills seniors on the Plum team.

Jeannette got a runner on in the bottom of the fifth but was not able to get on the scoreboard.

“This is a whole thing to get these guys playing,” Jeannette coach Marcus Clarkson said. “We put things together pretty quick. We have a pretty young team, and we know we are going to be up against some good teams in this league. This is an opportunity for our guys to see some good baseball and get better with experience.”

Devin Ranegar got the start for Plum and pitched four complete innings.

He struck out the first seven Jeannette batters before walking Aiden Lukart with one out in the third. A strikeout and a fielder’s choice grounder to short ended the frame.

Jeannette’s best scoring chance came in the fourth.

Michael Mason broke up Ranegar’s no-hitter with an infield single to start the inning. Derrick Miller, a former Jeannette player who transferred to Penn-Trafford, drew a one-out walk, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch.

However, Ranegar struck out Seth Howard and Zander Malik to snuff out the scoring threat.

Ranegar finished with 11 strikeouts, the two walks and just the one hit surrendered.

“It was a nice feeling coming back from not playing for three months,” said Ranegar, one of eight recent Plum graduates on the roster. “Coming out, I was a little anxious, but I felt great in the game.”

Podvasnik said league officials have done a great job in putting things together so quickly.

“It gets the kids out playing ball,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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