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BASEBALL: Palmyra splits abbreviated doubleheader with Susquehanna Township

PALMYRA>> The afternoon could not have started out any better for the Palmyra baseball team. The Cougars had just pocketed a win after resuming their suspended, 12-inning season opener against division foe Susquehanna Township, who was back in town to complete a home-and-home series.

Retaking the field for a second ballgame against the Indians, Palmyra (2-6, 1-6 Mid-Penn) then let up a run to open the first inning and left runners in scoring position to close the frame.

And unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.

The Cougars were blanked in an 8-0 showing Wednesday, tallying four hits against Susquehanna Township hurlers Noah Latsha and Brett Floyd. The Indians (2-4, 2-4) posted six runs in the second inning, as four consecutive batters reached base and came around to score. The last hitter of that stretch, junior catcher Jake Pae, went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and was plated on an error, as was Christian Ciotti (2-for-3, one RBI), on an overall tough defensive day for Palmyra.

Lifted in that second frame, Cougars starter Trevor Gill took the loss and was followed in relief by Brandon Charochak and Colby Acri. None of them would receive any run support, however, with 10 Palmyra runners stranded on base, including two right at the get-go.

"We had (Latsha) on the ropes. He was struggling and we got nothing. That was a killer," Cougars coach Tim Gingrich said of the first frame. "Then we had one bad inning, and when you have one bad inning with five or six runs, it's hard to come back from."

Making his first appearance of the year, Acri twirled a tidy four innings, yielding three hits and no runs. The young righty also picked up two punch-outs, regularly staying ahead of Indian hitters.

"I thought he did a great job," Gingrich said. "He kept them off balance. (He) didn't throw real hard, but he threw strikes and had us play defense."

Palmyra third baseman Zach Miller toed the rubber in the suspended game, a half-frame after he was on the receiving end of a hit by pitch that restarted the paused affair. Once he reached base, senior Bobby Dorta knocked a single and Evan Hallowell followed with his own base hit that plated Miller for the game-winning run.

"What I'm seeing is that we're making contact more now than we did," Gingrich said. "We still strike out way too much, but I'm liking that we're finally starting to hit the ball, put the ball in play and make somebody make a play."

In the next game, Susquehanna Township made nearly every play it had to, recording just one error in the field and rarely wading into deep counts at the dish, instead hacking away at early-count fastballs.

"We've not been as aggressive as we should be all year, and we've been harping on that," Indians coach Rob Martin said. "From a team perspective, we made strides today because we've got the pitching and defense to win."

The Cougars will return the diamond today at 4 p.m. on a trip to Harrisburg.

Susq. Twp.0000011—8111Palmyra0000000—043

W — Noah Latsha; L — Trevor Gill

SO-BB — ST: Latsha 4-2, Brett Floyd 1-2. P: Gill 0-0, Brandon Charochak 3-1, Colby Acri 2-0.

2B — ST: Jake Pae.