Sam Spiegelman, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, June 17, 2013 10:55 p.m.Click here for the original article on NOLA.COM
Early on, the Ponstein’s-Post 307 matchup had the feel of a pitcher’s duel. That all changed in the fourth inning.
After squandering an opportunity in the third, Post 307’s Ryan Walden and Henry Pittman led off the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back singles before Branden Munster drove the first pitch of his at-bat over the fence in left field.
Still yet to record an out, Ponsteins pitcher Matt Muhleisen walked Barrett Juneau, Ross Budenski and Drew Tortorich to load the bases. Muhleisen managed to force the double play, then force Gebo to ground to short, but a fielding error kept the inning going. With the bases loaded again, Muhleisen was called for a balk.
After a five-run fourth inning, Muhleisen’s night was over, and De La Salle-based Post 307 would have enough runs in its pocket to hold on for the 5-1 win.
“The hit and run was on, and I was just trying to put good wood on the ball with a chance for an RBI,” said Munster, who went 2-2 with a walk and three RBIs on the night. “It just happened to go over the wall. I hit it as well as I could. I wasnt trying for (the home run); my mentality was just get a base hit in that situation.”
It was a shaky first inning for Pittman, who started for Post 307. After inducing outs to the first two batters, Chip Bonura singled up the middle. Christian Volion drew a walk, then Greg Raynal smacked an RBI single into left field, bringing Bonura home and giving Ponstein’s the early 1-0 advantage.
However, Pittman bounced back as the hard-hitting righty went on to throw a complete game, allowing four hits but most importantly, keeping the game within reach until his offense gathered momentum.
“I really let my hair take care of it for. I was trying to channel my inner Jeff Samardjiza,” said Pittman, who struck out two but walked seven. “Im just effectively wild.”
For Ponstein’s, a strong first inning was soon forgotten.
The Ponstein’s offense didn’t have a second scoring opportunity until the top of the sixth. A walk to Christian Clayton and single by Jared Turner put runners on the corners with one out, but Pittman struck out Chris Turner and Matt Disalvo to end the threat and the inning.
Ponsteins made it interesting again in the seventh when Pittman began to struggle with his control. A close call on a potential double play and a fielding error kept the inning alive. With one out and the bases loaded, Pittman struck out Clayton and forced Tre Turner to ground out, again getting out of the jam unscathed.
Holy Cross-based Ponstein’s mustered only two hits off of Pittman after the first inning, and after Post 307 took the lead away from them in the fourth, the team’s confidence had dissipated.
“You cant win by getting three or four hits in a ball game and leaving guys on base,” Ponsteins Coach Ronnie Kornick said. “Their guy continued to battle, to make big pitches when he needed to and get out of jams. We had guys on base with chances to do something and we didnt. We came up short tonight.”