CRANBERRY TWP — Talk about a snowball becoming an avalanche.
East Butler saw an inning spiral out of control Saturday night at Graham Park as as Cranberry Township scored 14 times in the second frame en route to a 19-1 Butler County Area Baseball League victory.
Cranberry (3-0) has outscored its opponents 33-1 in its first three games.
“We lost focus,” East Butler manager Paul Patten said. “You could see it when we took the field in the second inning. The body language wasn't good.”
The first inning had a lot to do with that.
East Butler (0-5) — no-hit by Cranberry Thursday night at Speedo-O Field — received a one-out single from Colton Dickinson in the top of the first. He stole second, but was stranded there.
In the bottom of the frame, Clayton Blutcher drilled a run-scoring triple to right with one out. With two outs, Cranberry tacked on three more runs as Sammy Baic delivered a RBI single to left and Jon McCullough produced a two-run single up the middle.
“We've got a veteran team with a lot of 19-year-olds,” Cranberry manager Larry Steliano said. “We expect to capitalize on our opportunities.
“It was good to see our bats wake up tonight. We've been pitching well, but our bats looked rusty until this game.”
Cranberry had 12 hits in the five-inning contest, but received plenty of help. East Butler committed seven errors, walked eight and hit two batters.
The visitors walked five, committed five errors and hit a batter during that ill-fated second inning. Cranberry sent 18 batters to the plate and three East Butler pitchers combined to throw 70 pitches in the frame.
East Butler threw 102 pitches in the first two innings. Cranberry starting and winning pitcher Nick Matthews therew 35 in the first three frames.
Cranberry had six hits in the second inning. Evan Schneider — who had two singles and scored three runs — had a RBI single and Blutcher hit a grand slam well over the fence in right-center field.
Blutcher — an incoming Seneca Valley senior — was among a number of Cranberry starters who left the game in the third inning. He scored three runs and drove home six before his departure.
“I never hit a grand slam before,” Blutcher said. “I don't think I've ever been part of an inning that lasted that long.
“It's a little rough (when score gets out of hand), but you can't let your foot off the gas. We have to keep playing the game right.”
Cranberry had not allowed a run in its first 16 innings this season. That streak ended in the fifth. East Butler's Colton Collins reached on an infield error with two outs, stole second and scored on a dropped fly ball.
Dickinson had two of East Butler's four singles on the night.
“We'll bounce back from this,” Patten said. “We have a young team and we'll learn from this experience. I love these guys. In a couple of years, this is going to be a very good team.”
Stelitano was not bothered by his team's scoreless streak coming to an end.
“I don't care about that,” he said. “We had 18 players here and they all got in the game. That's what's important to me.
“A lot of those kids are firs-year players with us. They are the future of Cranberry baseball and it's nice to get them some game experience now.”
East Butler 000 01x x — 1 4 7
Cranberry 4(14)1 0xx x — 19 12 2
W: Nick Matthews 3IP (3K, 0BB). L: Brayden Hageter 1IP (0K, 1BB).
East Butler (0-5): Clay Collins 1B, Colton Dickinson 2-1B, Seth Stephenson 1B
Cranberry (3-0): Evan Schneider 2-1B 3-R RBI, Seve Balog 1B 2-R, Clayon Blutcher 3B HR 3-R 6-RBI, Jacob Coon 2-R RBI, Samy Baic 2-1B 2-R RBI, Michael Marrone 2-R, Jon McCullough 2-1B 2-RBI, Michael Waitleveretch 1B 2-R, Zach Snyder 1B, Phil Funovits 1B RBI
Tuesday: East Butler at Butler Township, Pine Richland at Cranberry