Defensive-minded Panthers top Cards 6-0

May 2—SAEGERTOWN — Saegertown's pitching and defense was dominant in a 6-0 shutout win against rival Cochranton on Wednesday at Ed Acker American Legion Field.

It was a different result than the first time the Region 3 teams met, when the Cards won 3-2.

"We played better defense, that was certainly one of the recipes for today," Saegertown head coach Nick Leslie said. "Our pitching staff I thought did a nice job for the most part. We kept our defense engaged. The pitchers threw strikes. That was good."

Despite the shutout, Cochranton started hot. Sophomore Walker Carroll doubled in the first at bat of the game. Ben Field singled and the Cardinals got runners on second and third with one out. Saegertown ace Blake Burchill delivered a strikeout and forced the Cards into a hard line-out to close the inning with no damage.

Saegertown's defense took care of business the rest of the way and let its offense get on the board. Burchill drilled a hard RBI single to center field, which scored Luke Young from second base and pushed the Panthers into the lead.

The Panthers scored four runs in the third inning for a healthy lead. Wyatt Burchill reached first base on an error that also scored Blake Burchill. An RBI single from Blake Leslie brought Levi Gardner and Wyatt Burchill home and an RBI double from DeMarcus Manning plated Leslie.

Saegertown added another run in the fifth inning when Leslie grounded out to score Levi Gardner from third base.

The Panthers out-hit Cochranton 10-3. Levi Gardner, Blake Burchill and Manning each had multiple hits.

"Offensively, I don't think we've hit our stride. We're still kind of struggling. Some guys are hitting and some aren't. We left a lot of base runners out there," Leslie said. "We squandered some runs and got some guys thrown out. It was kind of a ho-hum type of a game."

Defensively, the Panthers had a pair of highlight-reel double plays. In the top of the fourth inning, Leslie caught a ground ball on the run, tagged second and fired a rocket to first base to close the inning. In the sixth, second baseman Everett Gardner caught a liner at second and made the heads-up play to throw out a runner at third base who didn't tag up.

On the mound, Blake Burchill fanned five batters and allowed three hits in five innings. In relief, William Shaffer struck out three in two innings with no hits allowed.

"We have to give Saegertown a lot of credit. They really threw strikes and swung the bats today. To be honest, a couple weeks ago we were playing better baseball. Right now we're beating ourselves and we're making a lot of mistakes," Cochranton head coach Jarod Morrison said. "We have to figure out a way to get over the hump and stop beating ourselves."

Cochranton got hits from Carroll, Field and Brayden Burnette. On the bump, Isiah Long struck out two and had one earned run in four innings.

The Cardinals fell to 5-7 overall and in region play. They've lost three straight and four of the past five games. Cochranton is scheduled to host Youngsville today.

"There are a lot of games left, but the biggest takeaway is we need to keep competing and getting better each day and try to figure something out," Morrison said. "We're booting routine plays and making mistakes we weren't making earlier in the season. We have guys that need to step up and we need to find someone that will lead us and put us in the right direction."

Saegertown leads Region 3 at 12-1 in region play. The Panthers have won nine straight region games and are set to host Harbor Creek on Saturday for a non-region test.


Cochranton (0)

(AB-R-H-BI) Carroll 3-0-1-0, Long 3-0-0-0, Field 3-0-1-0, Burnette 3-0-1-0, Foulk 3-0-0-0, Mattocks 2-0-0-0, Hoban 2-0-0-0, Albert 2-0-0-0, Schmitt 1-0-0-0, Goodge 1-0-0-0. Totals 23-0-3-0.

Saegertown (6)

(AB-R-H-BI) E. Gardner 3-0-1-0, Young 2-1-0-0, B. Burchill 3-1-2-1, W. Burchill 4-1-0-0, L. Gardner 3-2-2-0, Leslie 3-1-1-3, Manning 3-0-2-1, Jordan 2-0-1-0, Shaffer 3-0-1-0. Totals 26-6-10.

Cochranton 000 000 0 — 0 3 1

Saegertown 104 010 x — 6 10 1


2B: C — Carroll; S — B. Burchill, Manning, L. Gardner.


(IP-H-R-ER-SO-BB) C — Long 4-6-5-1-2-4, Burnette 2-4-1-1-0-1; S — B. Burchill 5-3-0-0-5-1, Shaffer 2-0-0-0-3-0.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at