Cranberry squares series 1-1
Cricks tosses 2-hit shutout, fans 9 in 6-0 triumph over rival Mars
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Eagle Staff Writer
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August 9, 2017
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CRANBERRY TWP — Cranberry Township player/manager Bill Clinefelter refers to Dave Cricks as his pitching staff’s ace.

The latter certainly looked like one Monday evening.

Cricks struck out nine, walked just one and surrendered just two singles as Cranberry evened the Eagle County League’s best-of-five title series with a 6-0 victory over Mars in Game 2 at North Boundary Park.

“Dave has pitched really well for us this year,” said Clinefelter. “He has only one loss and that came in relief.”

Game 3 was scheduled to be played Tuesday at Mars Boro Field.

Cricks allowed a single to Jim Musgrave in the first inning and an infield hit to Brendan Malone in the seventh. In between, he retired 16 of the 18 batters he faced.

“I faced Mars earlier this season, but their lineup today had some different guys,” said Cricks, who is a pitcher at Gannon University. “I just tried to learn about their hitters as I went along and work off of that. I was able to keep them from hitting the ball in the center of the bat and my slider started working late in the game.

“This win builds confidence for the team.”

Thanks to Cricks’ dominance, Mars had little room for error. In a rare show of futility, the perennial league power was unable to answer the call.

Four errors committed behind starting pitcher Matt DeSalvo led to three unearned runs. Despite striking out 14 and walking two, DeSalvo took the loss.

The mishaps in the field began early for Mars.

A throwing error allowed Cranberry leadoff man Clayton Bouchard to reach base in the bottom of the first. He reached second base on a wild pitch and went to third on T.J. Kuny’s sacrifice bunt. Bouchard scored on a fielding error.

“It was sloppy all around,” said Malone, Mars’ player/manager. “It was actually embarrassing out there, wearing a Mars jersey. In the eight years I’ve been with the team, this is only the second time I’ve felt like that.”

Bouchard also scored Cranberry’s second run, thanks to Brandon Pouch’s RBI-single in the third.

Meanwhile, Cricks was moving through Mars’ lineup with ease. The one moment of uneasiness came in the top of the fourth when, with a runner on first, Mars slugger Dan Penberthy hit a high fly ball to deep left. John Brittner made the catch just feet in front of the fence.

“He (Cricks) was pretty good today,” Malone said. “He was throwing his fastball, curveball and change-up, and all for strikes.”

Two more errors contributed to Cranberry’s four-run sixth inning. Brittner singled home a run and Steve Anderson tripled in another in the frame.

“We got some assistance with the errors tonight,” Clinefelter said, “but good teams find ways to score and we did.”

The game was dedicated to longtime Eagle County League commissioner Sonny Westerman, who died last month.