LOUISVILLE -- Dieterich’s defense was nearly flawless in Wednesday’s North Clay Regional semifinal. Starting pitcher Alex Bohnhoff surrendered just two hits, struck out three, and allowed zero earned runs.
But the Movin’ Maroons made one mistake in the sixth inning, with two outs, and it proved deadly. Still scoreless, Bohnhoff threw a low strike that fooled the Pirates’ Seth Clark, but the ball took a funny bounce and escaped catcher Trenton Poe. Clark took off for first, and a slightly errant throw from Poe escaped Brandon Westjohn on the bag.
One tiny error, on a dropped strike, and two Cumberland runners scored to break the pitchers’ duel and give the Pirates a 2-0 edge. Blayke Cutts, the ace of the day for Cumberland, kept the shutout alive in the seventh to preserve the 2-0 win.
“Baseball is a funny game,” Pirates coach Jim Miller said. “It’s crazy, this (game) has been like our season, it comes down to one or two plays like that, we either sink or swim.”
Dieterich had chances to score in the third, fourth and fifth, but on cue, Cumberland turned in a gem of a play on defense to keep the Maroons off the board.
With two runners on in the third, Tanner Traub ripped into a pitch that looked bound to touch down in the outfield for a two-RBI double, but Cumberland center fielder Cody Hornbeck extended nearly parallel to the ground for a diving save.
“If that ball drops we score two,” Dieterich coach Jamie VanScyoc said.
The Maroons again came up empty in the fourth, when Cumberland turned a 6-4-3 double play off a ground ball from Cole Hartke to escape the inning.
“They were the difference,” Miller said of his defense. “I’ve been telling them all season long that pitching and defense will win you ball games, they came through today.”