Jim Petrolla's two-run single in the seventh gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 win.
STRUTHERS -- A two-out, two-run single by Jim Petrolla in the bottom of the seventh inning enabled Poland to come from behind to defeat Struthers, 5-4, in a Metro Athletic Conference baseball game at Cene Park Wednesday.
Petrolla's hit, his second of game, completed the rally for the Bulldogs (11-6, 7-2 MAC), the second seed in the Division II sectional tournament, after they trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth.
In that inning, Poland's Adam Wigley struck out but reached first base on a passed ball. After a wild pitch advanced him to second he scored on a two-out single by Petrolla.
The winning rally began with a lead off single by Frank LaRubbio. After Dom Marchionda was safe on an error, Don Stanovak attempted a sacrifice bunt, which Struthers pitcher Chris Kadvan fielded and retired LaRubbio at third.
Wigley then flew out to right, advancing Marchionda to third. A walk to Tom Clayton loaded the bases, and Jim Pasquine walked to force in a run. After a pitching change, Petrolla's hit drove in the tying and winning runs.
"A win is a win, but we were not happy with how we played," stated Poland coach Rich Murray.
"Our hitting was terrible. Sometimes we seem to have trouble in how we approach games. They think they can just turn it on; luckily tonight we could. It was nice for Jimmy to get that big hit, he has been struggling at the plate."
Wins in relief
Paul Hay (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh inning to pick up the win in relief of Lou Coppola. Coppola went the first six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. He had seven strikeouts and walked two.
For Struthers, Kadvan (2-1) suffered a tough-luck loss. Only one of the five runs he allowed was earned, as he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
"The kids battled all game. We have shown that we can play with the good teams in this league," said Struthers coach Mike Donatelli.
"This was a rough one, especially for our seniors. That was their one time to beat Poland.
"Chris [Kadvan) is a horse. He does what he is supposed to do on the mound," added Donatelli.
Struthers scored twice in the first inning. A one-out single by Mike Barone was followed by a double by Mike Galetta to score the first run of the game.
A two-out single by Jim Kriebel scored the second run, giving the 'Cats a 2-0 lead.
"Galetta is seeing the ball real well at the plate right now," said Donatelli.
A two-out triple by Clayton scored Jim Kozlow, who had singled, to give Poland its first run in the bottom of the first inning.
Coppola allowed just one single over the next three innings before Struthers scored two runs in the fifth inning, thanks to two leadoff walks. One run scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Barone, and the second scored on Lariccia's single, giving the 'Cats a 4-1 lead.
"He [Coppola] was not ready in the first inning, he was not warmed up properly. Then after I thought he was in a grove he just kind of lost it again," said Murray.
Galetta and Farris had two hits each for Struthers (3-11, 0-6), while Joe Renaud, along with Clayton and Petrolla had two for Poland.
"We are still chasing Canfield who is undefeated yet for the league. We have them Monday and Tuesday next week, and still have one with Howland left, so we have a chance to tie for the league if we can knock them off," said Murray.