Deposit Lumberjacks topple Margaretville in sectional play
Pitching a baseball is not for the weak of heart. Mental toughness is as much a part of the pitching equation as the ‘stuff’ a pitcher brings to the mound. Just ask Chicago Cub starting pitcher Jeff Samardziga. In 10 2014 starts, Samardziga leads the major leagues with a 1.46 earned run average but at 0-4 has yet to win a game. Keeping your cool with a statistical aberration like that is a challenge.
Margaretville baseball pitcher Kyle Short has some idea of how Samardziga might feel. Down the home stretch of the 2014 season, Short has been victimized on the mound by a sketchy Blue Devils’ defense. That was the case again last week Tuesday in Deposit when Margaretville was eliminated, 8-3, from the Section IV playoffs to see their season draw to a close. The final Blue Devils’ game was actually far closer than the final score might indicate.
The defensive leakage began in Deposit’s first at bat. A misplayed infield pop-up cost Margaretville at least one of the two runs that scored and cheated Short of an opportunity to escape the frame unscathed.
The Blue Devils battled back to tie the game in their half of the second and squandered a possible chance to add on more. Cooper Reither led off the frame with a line drive single to right field and advanced to third when Dan Conroy reached first on an infield overthrow.
Reither scored on a wild pitch with Conroy reaching home on a perfectly placed bunt by Devin Amundsen. Further Margaretville damage was prevented when, with two outs, Nick Plante was thrown out at home plate trying to score on Kyle Short’s single.
Deposit, a Mid-State Athletic League team, hit Short harder than teams from the Delaware League. Even so, the hard-hitting Lumberjacks got some help from an inexperienced Blue Devil outfield that struggled to get a jump when the ball made contact with the bat on hits directed to the outfield. A dropped outfield fly in the sixth inning would also cost Margaretville a pair of runs.
The Blue Devils had their chances at the plate, leaving the bases loaded in the third and seventh frames and stranding 10 runners on base. Eric Mathiesen reached base on an infield error to lead off the fourth, moved to second on Reither’s second hit of the game and scored when Danny Conroy grounded out. Mathiesen’s run cut the Deposit lead to 4-3 at the time.
Short finished his high school career with a terrific senior season, going 5-2 on the mound while throwing 39 and-two-thirds innings, striking out 77 and walking only 13. Short’s contributions weren’t limited to pitching. The Blue Devils’ senior was the team’s best hitter, leading the team in several offensive categories including batting average (.421) hits, extra-base hits, walks, stolen bases, and on-base-percentage.