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Morning Sun
  • Girard baseball holds off late Pittsburg charge, wins 7-5

  • Girard junior pitcher Nick George held onto a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings, before a single by Pittsburg second baseman Nick Vacca broke it up and drove in Joe Wimmer for the first Pittsburg run of the game.

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  • Girard junior pitcher Nick George held onto a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings, before a single by Pittsburg second baseman Nick Vacca broke it up and drove in Joe Wimmer for the first Pittsburg run of the game.
    Pittsburg scored all five of its runs in the final two innings and put a little scare into the Trojans but Girard held on for a 7-5 season-opening win Tuesday at JayCee Ballpark.
    “It started with good at-bats,” Girard head coach Keith Matlock said. “Especially for early in the season, I was very happy with the approach we had at the plate and Nick came out the first couple innings, got some outs and had some quick innings so it helped get some momentum going.”
    Batting second in the Girard lineup, sophomore catcher Brayden Johnson started a three-run first inning with a single to right field; Johnson advanced to second on a Pittsburg error. George supported himself with a RBI single plating Johnson and Dillon Walsh smashed a two-run double to left, scoring George and Cody Grilz, who had reached on a single after George.
    Girard pushed across two runs in the third — helped out by two Pittsburg errors — and two more in the fourth. Both runs in the fourth were scored on fielder’s choice plays and proved to be the difference in the game.
    “They were very important,” Matlock said. “I thought, especially there toward the end of the game, we got a little complacent so they ended up being big runs. We can’t allow that. We talked to the kids about seven full innings. We can’t play five and just shut it down because it’s 7-0. They ended up being big runs and it’s something we can learn from.”
    Meanwhile, George had faced 18 Pittsburg batters after five innings and gave up two runs on two hits and two errors before he was pulled for Cody Grilz in the sixth. George left to a nice ovation and third baseman Kevin Rowe helped Girard out of the inning with his glove on an unassisted double play, as he snared a line drive and doubled the runner off third base.
    “I was happy with Nick,” Matlock said. “He said he wasn’t very comfortable tonight, just first-game jitters. We’ve been on the mound a lot but still it’s the first game of the year. He got a little tired. We pushed him a little bit further but he’s in shape and he knows his arm. He just got a little tired in the sixth and we had to make that change.”
    “I’m not taking anything away from their pitcher,” Pittsburg head coach Mike Wilbert said. “He (Nick George) did a great job. We didn’t lay off the high pitches and he took advantage of it. He kept the ball up and we kept popping it up because we didn’t make that adjustment. He got a little bit tired, we got a few base hits and then obviously had an opportunity to get the game tied or win it with a big hit.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Vacca and Brandon Baker drove in runs with back-to-back singles in the sixth and Pittsburg scored three runs in the seventh on two bases loaded walks and a RBI single by senior catcher Dylan Gromer. With the bases loaded and two outs, pushed to a 3-2 count, reliever Anthony Scholes got Broc Bennett to pop out to Grilz and end the game.
    With the combination of trailing 7-0 after 3 1/2 innings and having a chance to win in the final at-bat, Wilbert could see both the good and the bad in the season-opening loss.
    “I was proud of the way they battled back,” Wilbert said. “I was disappointed the way we played early because I don’t think we did anything very well early. We didn’t throw the ball well, we didn’t field the ball real well and we didn’t hit real well. The game’s all about fielding, pitching and hitting and if you don’t do those three things very well, obviously you’re not going to be very successful but Girard did all those things well so my hat’s off to them.”
    Girard won the JV game, 4-3. The Trojans and the Purple Dragons will play again on Monday in Girard, a doubleheader which had originally been scheduled to be played at JayCee like the games Tuesday were first slated in Girard.
    Girard 7, Pittsburg 5
    GHS    302 200 0 — 7 8 3
    PHS    000 002 3 — 5 3 4
    Nick George, Cody Grilz (6), Nate George (7), Anthony Scholes (7) and Brayden Johnson. Broc Bennett, Joe Wimmer (3), Spencer Bernhardt (6) and Dylan Gromer. WP — Ni. George. LP — Bennett. SV — Scholes. E — Taylor Lewis, Na. George, Scholes; Tanner Ellis 2, Nick Vacca, Wimmer. LOB — GHS 6, PHS 8. 2B — Dillon Walsh. SB — Scholes 2; Wimmer 2, Vacca. CS — Walsh. HBP — Walsh; Anthony McNeely.

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