JOHNSTOWN – Matthew Jones’ two-out, two-run single capped off a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning that erased an early three-run deficit for Brooklyn-1 and lifted the Cougars to a 7-4 win over Youngstown in Monday afternoon’s AAABA Pool C game at Westmont Hilltop High School.
Youngstown (0-1) broke open a scoreless contest with three runs in the top of the fourth, but the Cougars (1-0) got one back in the home half of the fifth before eventually tying it 3-all in the seventh thanks to a pair of Youngstown errors.
After Rahsaan Browne drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Jones then lined a 3-2 pitch into center field, scoring Danny Pena and Jordan Garcias with the go-ahead runs.
The Creekside Crocodiles subsequently pulled within 5-4 in the top of the eighth on Dom Stilliana’s RBI double, but the Cougars added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the frame on Pena’s two-out single that drove in John Riviere-Vejas and Joan Peralta.
“The guys didn’t quit,” said Brooklyn-1 manager Eric Jaune. “They kept on battling and kept on fighting. We got opportunities and finally came through.”
Both squads’ starting pitchers turned in strong efforts, but neither hurler figured in the decision. Youngstown’s Tyler Peterson gave up one earned run on four hits in six innings of work, while striking out 10 and walking four. The Cougars’ Ronald Filasame surrendered three unearned runs in six innings on three hits, with six walks and five strikeouts.
Brandon Polanco picked up the win in relief, giving up one run on two hits in two innings of work, and Brandon Prescod earned the save after coming on in the top of the ninth with two on and no outs before striking out two of the three batters he faced to close out the game.
“Polanco and Prescod came in and did a good job, throwing strikes and getting the plays behind them by our defense,” said Jaune.
“We played hard, we had some opportunities to score some runs, and left a lot of guys on base,” said Youngstown manager Bob Mingo. The Creekside Crocodiles stranded 11 runners throughout the contest.
With two on and one out in the top of the fourth, Stilliana reached on an error, allowing Christian Gabriel to score the game’s first run for Youngstown. One out later, Travis Harvey drove a double to center, scoring Chase Franken and Stilliana to make it 3-0.
The Cougars got on the board one inning later when Peralta was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Browne with the first Brooklyn run.
Brooklyn’s decisive seventh inning rally started with Julian Jaume at second with two down, following a double play. After a walk to Prescod, Jaume came home on an error to make it 3-2, with Prescod moving to third on the play.
Garcias then reached on another error that brought in Prescod with the tying run, and after Browne’s two-out walk, Jones’ single to center put his team ahead to stay.
“I was just looking to hit the ball hard,” Jones said. “I came through for my team, and it felt really good.”
Coleman Stauffer had two of Youngstown’s five hits, while Riviere-Vejas finished 3-for-3 for the Cougars. Pena went 2-for-5 with one run scored and drove in two for Brooklyn.
The Cougars will face Maryland State Tuesday at Portage, while Youngstown takes on the North Carolina Disco Turkeys at Roxbury. Both contests are noon starts.