Laurel Auto Group hands shutout to First Comm. Bank – The Tribune-Democrat, Tuesday, June 22, 2015
BY CORY ISENBERG
Laurel Auto Group was on cruise control most of Monday night in the AAABA League early game at Point Stadium against First Commonwealth Bank.
Left-hander Danny Clark allowed just one hit and Laurel’s batters pounded out 12 hits in the 7-0 shutout.
“Danny did an outstanding job,” said Laurel Auto Group manager Mark Thomchick after his team improved to 102. “I think that was his second outing for us this year. He threw strikes and got ahead of guys. His secondary stuff looked good. He’s a warrior on the mound.
“We knew he was capable of that. He just went out and competed and did a really good job tonight.”
Clark, who had four strikeouts, had a perfect game going through four innings before giving up a walk to Bailey Kerch with two outs in the fifth.
He yielded his only hit, a single to Matt Amick in the sixth, before being lifted for Carlo Kazmierczyk in the seventh.
“My fast ball was pretty good but I was able to spot my curve ball,” said Clark, who plays for Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “I knew I had a perfect game going, but I tried not to think about it. I just wanted to get the ‘W’ for the team.”
First baseman Zac Heide led the Laurel Auto Group offensive attack, going 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the seventh, a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.
“Right now I’m seeing the ball really well,” said Heide, who attends Seton Hill. “It’s been easy to play with this bunch of guys that we put together this year and this was something like our ninth straight win.”
Laurel Auto Group jumped on First Commonwealth starter Lucas Bailey for three runs in the top of the first, aided by an error with three hits, and added two more in the second for a 5-0 lead.
“I knew I was going to get run support but it’s always good to get a couple of runs in the first inning so it takes a little bit of pressure off of me on the mound,” Clark said.
Added Thomchick: “I think it makes things easier from a pitching standpoint when you have a five-run lead after two innings. You can go out and attack guys and get ahead of hitters and you don’t have to be as fine. You can really attack early in the count and that certainly helped him out.”
First Commonwealth had its best chance to score in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, a hit batsman and a walk put runners on first and second. After a strikeout, Kazmierczyk walked Alex Sobecky to load the bases, but was able to get a ground out to shortstop to end the contest. “It’s a situation where we are having a tough time holding these really good teams and when you’re not hitting with that, it’s hard to compete at this level,” said First Commonwealth manager Jim Skiles.
“Defensively, I thought we played a really good game and were right there after the first couple innings.”
Cory Wheeler was 2-for-3 with a double for Laurel, which also got a trio of 2-for-4 outings from Nico Pecora, Collin Laguzza and Ryan Wardropper (triple).
“Zac had a nice night on Sunday with two home runs and had another homer today,” Thomchick said. “He’s been taking some good swings.
“As a team, I think we took some pretty good swings but we also took some bad swings.
“We have some things to iron out as the season progresses.
“I’m happy with where our pitching and defense are right now, we just have to fight to get better offensively. I’m happy with where we are at now, but we need to continue to improve as the season rolls along.”
Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune- Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @ CoryIsenbergTD.
“I think it makes things easier from a pitching standpoint when you have a fiverun lead after two innings. You can go out and attack guys and get ahead of hitters and you don’t have to be as fine. You can really attack early in the count and that certainly helped him out.”
MARK THOMCHICK, MANAGER, LAUREL AUTO GROUP