SCOTLAND - Philipsburg-Osceola was about a foot from taking a 2-0 advantage in its PIAA Class AA quarterfinal high school baseball playoff game against Pine Grove Thursday.
Instead, the Mounties finished the first inning down by four and never recovered in a 10-0, five inning loss to the Cardinals at Greene Township Park.
"It just wasn't our day," P-O senior shortstop Mike Marcinko said. "Plays we usually make, we didn't. They hit the ball in holes. We hit it right at people. It just wasn't our day."
Philipsburg got a sense of what was to come in the top of the first inning.
Marcinko singled and stole second before Rob Smith walked. Marcinko moved to third on an Andrew Greenawalt fly out to deep center, and Smith stole second to give P-O a pair of runners in scoring position.
Cody Lee drove a pitch from Pine Grove starter Jared McCabe down the third-base line, but it landed less than a foot foul. McCabe rebounded to strike Lee out on the next pitch before getting Parker Watson to fly out to left.
"I think it's a different game [if Lee's ball was fair]," Marcinko said. "We would have gotten momentum rolling there. We would have been fired up. I definitely think if that would have been a fair ball it would have been a different outcome."
The Cardinals followed McCabe's escape by scoring four runs on four hits and a walk in the bottom of the inning off Lee.
"Getting out of that early jam and then putting four runs on the board really helped," Pine Grove coach Keith Lehman said. "It takes a special 16-, 17- or 18-year-old kid in the opposing dugout to not question yourself after something like that."
Mark Curtis led off the second inning with a single, but McCabe got Matt Carpin to ground into a double play. Curtis' single was the final hit off McCabe, who finished with five strikeouts and two walks to go with two hits allowed in a crisp 64-pitch, five-inning shutout.
"He was really hitting spots after being a little tight early," Lehman said. "I made a visit to the mound early, and I think after that he really changed his mentality on the mound."
The Cardinals added five more runs in the bottom of the second off Lee and Watson, who came on in relief. Steve Zimmerman and Brandon Scheibley smacked back-to-back two-run doubles during the inning.
Logan Walstrom grounded out to start the top of the third inning before lightning led to an hour and a half delay.
When the game resumed, Watson held Pine Grove (22-6) in check, but the Mounties still couldn't get anything going offensively against McCabe.
"We were a little nervous, and I think we were swinging at pitches we normally wouldn't," Marcinko said. "It was a big game, and we obviously wanted to win. We just let our emotions get the best of us."
The Cardinals final run scored when Matt Kephart misplayed a Ty Zimmerman grounder and then threw it away, allowing Zimmerman to reach second with one out. Following a groundout to second, Zimmerman scored on a wild pitch to set the final score.
"We just felt snake bit today," Philipsburg-Osceola coach Doug Sankey said. "Nothing went right for us. We had all the confidence in Cody, and when he pitches, we have our best defense out there. Those guys just hit the ball."
The Mounties (19-6) will graduate seven seniors from their current squad, including six starters from Thursday's game.
"Most of those seniors have been with me for three years and have been major contributors to the program," Sankey said. "Mike Marcinko is a four-year starter. We won 14, 16 and 19 games with those guys, and they've been in the lineup for most of them."
PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA (0): Marcinko ss 201, Smith c 100, Greenawalt rf 200, Lee p 100, Golemboski 1b 100, Watson 1b-p 200, Curtis 2b 101, Carpin lf 200, Harris dh 200, Kephart 3b 000, Walstrom cf 200. Totals 16-0-2
PINE GROVE (10): Todero ss 322, J. Scheibley 3b 221, T. Zimmerman 1b 321, S. Zimmerman c 322, B. Scheibley rf 221, Martin 2b 200, Shiffer cf 201, Blankenhorn dh 200, McCabe p 000, D'Agostino lf 200. Totals 21-10-8
SCORE BY INNINGS
Philipsburg-Osceola 000 00X X 0 2 3
Pine Grove 450 1XX X 10 8 0
E-Walstrom, Kephart 2. 2B-Shiffer, S. Zimmerman, B. Scheibley. RBIs-S. Zimmerman 3, B. Scheibley 2, Shiffer 2, J. Scheibley. WP-McCabe. LP-Lee. SO-McCabe 5, Watson 1. BB-McCabe 2, Lee 2, Watson 1. Pitches-McCabe 64, Lee 38, Watson 48.
Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (19-6); Pine Grove (22-6).