Yough’s experience comes through against Greensburg Salem to secure outright section title

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | 9:34 PM

Experience matters.

After losing a gut-wrenching baseball game Monday, senior-laden Yough made the necessary plays and took advantage of plays younger Greensburg Salem did not make.

The host Cougars secured the outright Section 4-3A championship Tuesday with a 10-5 win over the Golden Lions.

“On the bus (Monday), we were obviously upset because we let one get away, but we couldn’t change it,” Yough senior catcher Jack Sampson said. “We came into (Tuesday) with some confidence knowing we could win.”

Greensburg Salem scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday to beat Yough, 6-5.

That win gave the Golden Lions a chance to win Tuesday and claim a share of the section championship.

The Cougars were not in a sharing mood Tuesday.

“From the very moment we lost our playoff game last year, the goal was to win the section this year,” Yough first-year head coach Dan Palm said. “The kids went to work in the offseason and worked really hard. It’s a veteran team and that really helped (Tuesday). I believe having a lot of seniors on the field helps in situations like coming back from a loss.”

The first inning was a sign of things to come.

Greensburg Salem had two singles and a bunt to load the bases with two outs, but Yough starter James Shoman struck out senior Matt Scarpa to end the top half of the inning.

In the bottom half, Yough used a single, error and walk to load the bases, and with two outs, senior Carson Pasinski walked to score Sampson.

A combined 18 walks allowed and errors were a huge part of the Golden Lions’ downfall.

“Extremely disappointed in the performance,” Greensburg Salem coach Anthony Manley said. “This was a playoff- type game, and when you make that many defensive miscues and mental mistakes, you will be punished for it. Yough took advantage of all of our mistakes. You cannot hand them five or six runs and expect to win the game.”

Another mistake on defense led to two more Yough runs in the second inning.

With a runner at second base and two outs, Sampson popped up a pitch near the first base dugout. The Golden Lions first baseman and catcher converged, but stopped and the ball fell in between them. A few pitches later, Sampson roped one to the fence for an RBI triple. He then scored on a wild pitch.

After sophomore Dom Rosensteel singled home Scarpa to put the Golden Lions on the board in the top of the fourth inning, the Cougars answered with three runs on only one hit in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three walks and three more Greensburg Salem errors.

Pasinski had three RBIs for Yough, including a two-run single to highlight a four-run sixth inning. Sampson had three hits to lead the Cougars.

Shoman pitched into the sixth inning for Yough (11-1, 14-5), allowing only two runs on six hits. Sophomore starter Braedon Leatherman suffered the loss for Greensburg Salem (9-3, 13-5) after giving up three earned runs on three hits in four-plus innings of work.

“I thought Leatherman pitched well enough to win, yet our offense could not string together quality at-bats,” Manley said. “We beat ourselves. Yough is a good team, and I will not take any credit away from them, but we handed them this one. Young team for sure, but we’ll move on. We are now 0-0 and with a new opportunity ahead of us.”

Palm admits he thinks this team can go deep in the upcoming WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.

“That’s why I took the job,” he said. “With the senior class we have, we play hard, we play the right way and we’re confident. I do feel we have something special here.”

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