There's an old baseball adage that maintains that pitching and defense wins championships.
In the second game of the George B. Kelley Federation championship series Friday evening at Veterans Memorial Field, Martin Oil's pitching was stellar, and Dick's Pharmacy's defensive play wasn't.
The result was a 5-2 Martin Oil victory that put the Bellwood team ahead, 2-0 in the best-of-five series, with a chance to clinch the league title in today's third game, which is set for 5 p.m. today at Vets.
Matt Stewart, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound righthander who will be a senior this fall at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, pitched the first six innings Friday for defending league champion Martin Oil, limiting Dick's to two runs and five hits while striking out five batters and walking just one.
Lefty Danny Beech worked a hitless seventh inning, striking out one, to record the save.
"Matt did an excellent job for us,'' Martin Oil manager Ron Mock said. "He did a great job mixing his pitches. Danny Beech has been our closer all season, and he did a great job for us in the seventh inning.''
Stewart, who also plays for the Curve Juniors traveling team and returned to the Martin Oil roster in time for Thursday's championship series opener, felt that his curve ball was working well Friday.
"My curve was going good early in the game, but I lost it a little in the last two innings that I pitched,'' Stewart said. "I was spotting my pitches, and I had good control.''
Martin Oil, which lost only one game during the regular season and entered the tournament as its top seed, benefited from some shoddy play in the field by Dick's, which committed five errors.
"Five errors - you can't win with five errors,'' said Dick's manager Pat Yon. "We need to play solid baseball from here on out. If we don't play solid baseball, we won't be able to do what we need to do.''
Martin Oil opened the scoring in the third inning when Tanner Snyder singled to right field and scored on Beech's double to the left-center field gap.
Martin Oil benefited from two Dick's errors, a wild pitch, and a passed ball to score three runs on just one hit in the fifth inning and stretch its lead to 4-0.
Jake Stapleton and Snyder engineered a double steal to advance to third and second, respectively, before Tristan Lingafelt's single to center scored Stapleton. Snyder scored on an errant pickoff throw that advanced Lingafelt to second. Lingafelt moved to third on the wild pitch, and scored on the passed ball.
"They made some errors, and we took advantage of the mistakes,'' Mock said.
It happened again in the sixth inning, when Seth Hunter drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on Haden DeGennaro's single, and scored on a two-out throwing error as Martin Oil built its lead to 5-0.
Dick's scored its two runs in the sixth inning when Chris Sinisi singled to center, Brandon Lytle and Dylan Oswalt reached on bunt singles to load the bases, and Sinisi and Lytle both scored as Ethan Adams was grounding into a short-to-second forceout.
Martin Oil has a chance to wrap up its second consecutive league championship tonight - Dick's Pharmacy won the league title in 2011 - but Mock is taking nothing for granted.
"Whether you're a first-place team or a top seed, nothing is a given,'' Mock said. "I'm just hoping that we come out and play.''
Game notes: Beech had two hits for Martin Oil, while Sinisi singled twice for Dick's ... Martin Oil first baseman Zach Mock made at least two stellar defensive plays to save teammates from throwing errors. "My defense played a big part in this win tonight,'' Stewart said. "Zach did a good job over there. He saved us a couple times.'' ... If a fourth game in the series is necessary, it will be played Sunday at 5 p.m. A fifth game, if necessary, would be played Monday at 5:30 p.m.
MARTIN OIL (5): H. DeGennaro cf 301, Snyder 2b 221, Lingafelt ss 411, Beech rf-p 302, Mock 1b-rf 300, Creppage c 401, Soellner cr 000, Stewart p-1b 300, Hunter 3b 210, Stapleton lf 210, Kline ph 100. Totals - 27-5-6.
DICK'S PHARMACY (2): Sinisi ss 412, B. Lytle p-lf 111, Adams lf-p 300, Oswalt cf 301, Wolfe 3b 201, J. DeGennaro 2b 300, N. Lytle c 300, Knott 1b 300, Johnson rf 000, Eckenrode dh 200, Futrell cr 000. Totals - 24-2-5.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Martin Oil001 031 0-5 6 1
Dick's Pharmacy000 002 0-2 5 5
E-Beech, Sinisi 2, B. Lytle, Wolfe, DeGennaro. 2B-Beech. RBI-Lingafelt, Beech, Adams 2. SAC -B. Lytle 2, H. DeGennaro. SB -Snyder, Soellner, Stapleton. LOB -Martin Oil 8, Dick's Pharmacy 5.
IP R ER H SO BB
B. Lytle (LP) 4 4 2 3 7 3
Adams 2 1 0 1 1 2
IP R ER H SO BB
Stewart (W) 6 2 2 5 5 1
Beech 1 0 0 1 1 1
WP-B. Lytle 2, Stewart. PB-B. Lytle. HBP-Mock by B. Lytle.
Umpires: Brett Shover (Plate); Mike Morgan (first base); Brandon Stitt (third base).