Cowboys roll behind pitching
Chaney also jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead against Mooney.
BY JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- A four-run first inning, followed by strong pitching performances from starter Jake Gossett and relievers Gary Boris and Jake Kocanyar, carried Chaney High to a 5-3 win over Cardinal Mooney in a Division II sectional baseball tournament game Thursday at Cene Park.
"We got a good start offensively and then we got good pitching to keep us in the game," said Chaney coach Mike Popio, whose Cowboys (10-8) advanced to play at top-seeded Poland (13-5) next Thursday in a sectional final.
"It was very important that we come out [strong] in the first inning," added Popio, in his 13th year. "We just hit the ball well and ran the bases well. We set up some runs by running the bases well early in the game."
Key hits: Eight different players accounted for Chaney's eight hits, but providing the strong start were Boris, John Shaffo, Chris Hlinka and Charlie Jaminet, all with run-scoring hits in the first inning. Shaffo's hit was a triple, the others each getting a single.
The Cowboys scored their other run when D.J. Fahndrich opened the fourth inning with a triple, and then came home on a wild pitch to give them a 5-0 lead.
In the meantime, Gossett, a senior and a four-year performer, blanked Mooney on two hits over four innings.
"Jake Gossett did a good job of throwing from a difficult count situation. We were behind in the count a lot and he hung in there," said Popio.
Mooney rallies: But the Cardinals (9-9) finally broke free against Gossett in the fifth inning for two runs on RBI singles from Jordan Rogers and Dante DeLisio, trimming their deficit to 5-2.
Another Mooney rally in the sixth knocked out Gossett.
Jeff Hehr opened with a triple and scored on Jason Jablonski's single, reducing Chaney's lead to 5-3. Then John Whiteley's single chased Gossett.
Boris replaced Gossett and stopped the Cardinals' rally with a strikeout and pop-up.
In the seventh, Boris issued two walks sandwiched around a strikeout, and gave way to Kocanyar, who struck out the last two batters.
Came through: Popio said Kocanyar, a senior and four-year starter, snuffed the rally with his fastball.
"What Jake does best, he was able to do in that situation. He threw a fairly hard fastball at a timely part of the [batting] order," said Popio.
Popio said that Gossett will be Chaney's go-to man against Poland.
"He's the guy we are going to ride in the tournament. Where he goes, we [go]," said Popio, noting that Gossett has "a good mixture [of three pitches] and is a "good student of the game."
Jablonski and Jonathan Zizzo each finished with two singles for Mooney.