Carmichaels Mighty Mikes vs Saegertown Panthers

Mikes breeze past Saegertown
By Rob Burchianti , Herald-Standard 06/08/2004

SLIPPERY ROCK - Saegertown provided the biggest blast, but
otherwise the stage belonged to Carmichaels.

The Mikes excelled in all facets of the game in cruising to a 7-4
victory over the Panthers in a PIAA Class A baseball first-round
playoff clash at Slippery Rock University's Jack Critchfield Park

Jared Lapkowicz tossed five scoreless innings and Jamie Kowalczyk
contributed three hits, two runs scored and a stolen base as
Carmichaels rebounded strongly from its disappointing 15-0 loss
to Neshannock in the WPIAL championship game nine days ago.

"As much as I don't like a week off like that, it gave us a
chance to look at ourselves," Carmichaels coach Dave Bates said.
"It was like a gut check for us."

The Mikes (16-3) passed that test with flying colors and will
next play Clarion-Limestone on Thursday with the site and time to
be determined. The Lions defeated Mount Union 4-2 Monday.

Bates' squad pressured the District 10 champion Panthers (17-6)
from the start. The Mikes ripped four extra-base hits, including
three triples, stole four bases in five attempts, and were
extremely adept at bunting. Carmichaels laid down three bunt
singles - one on a successful suicide squeeze play - and one

"I would love to play 'gorilla' ball and hit three-run homers all
the time, but that's not our team," Bates said. "This is the kind
of baseball we've gotten by on all year. A run that scores on a
bunt looks just as good as one on a home run to me. If you let us
on base, we're going to do things with it."

The Mikes were just as efficient in the field, making only one
harmless error.

"You have to play good baseball in all aspects to win at this
level," Bates said. "I think we did that today."

Carmichaels took a 7-0 lead into the seventh when Kyle Wilson
provided the Panthers' only highlight with a grand slam home run
off reliever Karl Cole.

Andy Mazur come on to record the final two outs and wrap up the

The Mikes took advantage of five walks and two errors in scoring
a run in the first and three in the second for a quick 4-0 lead,
chasing Saegertown starter Rory Mahoney in the process.

Kowalczyk led off the game with a triple to deep center field and
scored on Lapkowicz's ground out.

"That got us off to a good start," Bates said of Kowalczyk's hit.
"We built around that. Jamie is one of our spiritual leaders.
He's a sparkplug for us."

In the second, Donny Hewitt drew a one-out walk and stole second,
and Niko Buday also walked.

Kowalczyk's bunt single moved the runners up and both scored when
Mahoney threw wildly to first base on the play with Kowalczyk
racing to second.

Kowalczyk stole third, then threatened to tag up on Jamie
Bandish's pop out to second baseman Wilcox in short right field.

The fake drew a throw from Wilcox that sailed over catcher
Brandon Crum's head, and Kowalczyk danced home on the error.

"They were very aggressive," Saegertown coach Duane Mosbacker
said of Carmichaels. "They were the better team today. They
showed up and we didn't."

The Mikes made it 5-0 in the third on Karl Cole's RBI triple to deep
center field.

Carmichaels almost buried the Panthers with a bunting barrage in
the sixth.

Hewitt smashed a one-out triple and Bates signaled the suicide
squeeze with Buday at the plate. His bunt got by reliever Adam
Artman for a single as Hewitt pranced home.

Kowalczyk followed with a perfectly placed bunt single down the
third base line, and Bandish moved the runners up with a
sacrifice bunt that he just missed beating out at first.

Busti drew his third walk of the game to load the bases, but
Artman got out of the inning by striking out Lapkowicz.

Carmichaels pushed across its final run in the top of the seventh
when Cole reached on an error, and courtesy runner Logan Phillips
stole second and scored on Buday's pop single into short right

Lapkowicz allowed just two hits and two walks with six strikeouts
in notching the win.

Cole pitched a perfect sixth, but with one out in the seventh the
Panthers used an infield hit, a walk and a hit batsman to set the
stage for Wilson's slam over the left-field fence.

Mazur got a ground out and caught Artman looking at a called
third strike to end the game.

Mahoney was charged with two earned runs on two hits with five
walks and one strikeout in 1 2-3 innings to absorb the loss.

Artman pitched well in relief, giving up two earned runs on seven
hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.

Carmichaels had five different players reach base three times.

In addition to Lapkowicz and Busti, Buday had two hits and a
walk, and Hewitt and Jeff Lapkowicz each had a hit and two walks.

Jared Lapkowicz accounted for the Mikes' other extra-base hit
with a double.


Carmichaels plays small ball, gets big win
BY JOE TUSCANO, Staff writer

SLIPPERY ROCK - For nine days, the loss to Neshannock in the
WPIAL finals hung over Carmichaels High School's baseball team
like a storm cloud.

In the most important game of the season to that point, the Mikes
had one of their worst outings, losing 15-0 to Neshannock in a
game halted after four innings because of the WPIAL's Mercy Rule.

It's not the way you want to go into the first round of the PIAA
Class A playoffs.

So the jitters were never far from Carmichaels coach Dave Bates
early on against Saegertown, the District 10 champion.

But he didn't have to worry too much because the Mikes reverted
back to winning form, using a small-ball attack, strong defense
and the dependable pitching of Jared Lapkowicz to wrap up a 7-4
victory over Saegertown Monday at Slippery Rock University's Jack
Critchfield Park.

The win pushed the Mikes, now 16-3, into Thursday's quarterfinals
against District 9 champion Clarion-Limestone, a 4-2 winner over
Mt. Union in the first round.

"Usually, I don't like a week off after a loss," Bates said. "But
we had to do a gut-check. When we looked (at the bracket), we
determined we were in a better position (for the state playoffs)
than if we had won the WPIAL."

The Mikes bunted seven times, stole three bases, and launched
three triples in building a 5-0 lead after three innings and 7-0
edge heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Saegertown must have known this was going to be a long day when
Carmichaels' leadoff hitter Jamie Kowalczyk launched a drive into
the gap in right centerfield. Jason Mulligan caught up to the
ball and appeared ready to make the catch. But the ball went past
his glove and glanced off his face, allowing Kowalczyk to reach
third on what was generously ruled a triple. Kowalczyk scored on
a groundout by Jared Lapkowicz to make it 1-0.

Carmichaels broke the game open in the second inning, scoring
three times on one hit and two errors by Saegertown. A bad throw
by Panthers' starter Rory Mahoney on a bunt by Kowalczyk sailed
into right field and allowed two runs in. Another throwing error,
this one by second baseman Derek Wilcox, let Kowalczyk score for
a 4-0 lead.

"Normally, we field the ball well," said Saegertown coach Dave
Mosbacker. "But we got down and back on our heels and it deflated
us a little."

Mahoney didn't make it out of the second inning, giving up four
runs, only one of which was earned.

"The week off hurt him," Mosbacker said. "His pitch is a curve.
The more tired you are, the more the curve will break."

Carmichaels added three more runs over the final five innings.
Karl Cole's triple knocked in Andy Mazur in the third. Donnie
Hewitt tripled and scored on a squeeze bunt by Niko Buday in the
sixth and Cole scored on a bloop single by Buday in the seventh
that fell between three Panthers just behind the first base bag.

"Bunting opens a lot of doors for you," Bates said. "You're not
going to win WPIAL titles and PIAA titles without playing good
defense and doing the little things."

Lapkowicz pitched five strong innings, striking out six and
walking two. Cole came on in the sixth for a 1-2-3 inning but ran
into trouble in the seventh. He loaded the bases with one out
before Kyle Wilson hit a grand slam down the left field line to
make it 7-4.

But Mazur got the final two outs, much to the relief of Bates.

"We gave up runs with a 7-0 lead," he said. "But it makes me feel
better than if we were up 7-3 and let them tie the game."



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