Short stops Milford with pitching gem

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Staff report
It’s a good bet that the Margaretville baseball team won’t be on the short side when Kyle Short takes the mound, The Blue Devils pitching ace sent shock waves through the Section IV high school baseball world last Tuesday, pitching a brilliant 71-pitch, three hitter as 14th seeded Margaretville stunned Milford, 3-1.

Short’s contributions weren’t limited to the mound. The Blue Devils’ junior scored the game’s winning run by opening the visitor’s half of the fourth inning with a double off the leftfield wall, advancing to third base on a wild pitch and scoring on Mitch Hull’s RBI infield ground out.

Starting early
Margaretville scratched out a run in their first at bat. Eric Mathiesen worked a walk, stole second, advanced to third on Short’s infield ground out and scored on a wild pitch.
Two infield errors, the second an overthrow of first base, plated Milford’s only run of the game in the Panthers’ second.

But Short was cruising on the hill, working quickly and efficiently. He didn’t reach his first three-ball count on a batter until the Milford sixth. Short faced the minimum number of Panthers in the four middle innings, running from the third frame through the sixth. Milford’s Paul VanWarner did reach base on a Blue Devils’ infield miscue with two out in the third, but Short picked him off first. Wyatt Waters led off the Milford fourth with a base hit but was erased when Blue Devil second baseman Colby Russo snared a line drive and turned it into a double play.

Pivotal role
Russo would play a significant role in the outcome. Inserted into the game in the fourth inning, the Blue Devils’ utility man had a hand in six defensive out. After the double play in the fourth, Russo recorded all three Milford outs in the sixth by catching a towering infield pop-up and retiring two batters on groundouts.

Russo’s impact was also felt in the batter’s box. Cooper Reither led off the Blue Devils’ seventh by reaching base on an infield error. Reither stole second and advanced to third when Danny Conroy grounded out. That brought Russo to the plate. After falling behind, 0-2, Russo slapped a hard single into leftfield to add a critical Margaretville insurance run. It was only the Blue Devils second hit of the contest.

It was high drama during Milford’s last at bat. Blake Elliot drew a one-out walk, Short’s only free pass in the contest. Jacob Taylor hit a hard infield ground ball that was booted for an error. When Max Lang’s soft flare to the outfield grass dropped just beyond Russo’s reach, the Panthers had the bases loaded and only one out.

On the fly
MCS catcher Cooper Reither came up big by hauling in a high pop-up in foul territory behind home plate for the second out. Russo made the defensive play of the game, turning in a sliding grab on William Ward’s ground ball up the middle with the Blue Devil second baseman landing on his stomach on second base for the putout.
Milford’s Kevin Musser was impressive in the loss, throwing a seven-inning two hitter, fanning five and walking four.

Rain washed out Margaretville’s quarterfinal match later in the week with Tri-Valley League Champion Edmeston. The game was played yesterday but the results were received too late to be included in this week’s Catskill Mountain News.