Blairsville Upsets Homer-Center

By Scifo, Dan | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Blairsville Upsets Homer-Center


Scifo, Dan, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


NEW FLORENCE--Inconsistency reared its ugly head Tuesday afternoon, as Laurel Valley defeated Blairsville 7-6.

The loss came one day after the Bobcats defeated Homer-Center, which finished second in the state last season.

"We were flat out there today. It was certainly a letdown," Blairsville Head Coach Mark Palmer said. "I think that they were so pumped up from beating Homer-Center that they thought they could just show up today and win," he said of his players.

Homer-Center bounced back from its loss to Blairsville by routing Elderton 10-0 in five innings Tuesday. The win boosted the Wildcats to an 8-1 conference record heading into their game last night against Purchase Line.

Laurel Valley broke open a 2-2 tie in the fourth, scoring two runs to take a 4-2 lead against the Bobcats.

Blairsville had a golden opportunity to battle back in the top of the fifth with one out, the bases loaded, and the heart of the order coming to the plate.

Instead of cashing in, senior Mike Speal popped out, and junior Josh Hammack struck out to end the inning. After that inning, Palmer knew it would be a difficult game to win after seeing his heavy hitters go down.

"That's when I knew that, if we were going to pull this game out, we were going to have to get lucky," he said.

Laurel Valley extended its advantage to 6-2, but Blairsville battled back in the top of the seventh to tie the game.

Laurel Valley wasn't finished, as sophomore Caleb Karasack reached on an error. After stealing second, Karasack secured his team's victory. He was driven in by a soft, slow-rolling ball that barely made its way to the outfield.

Blairsville was in third place in the Heritage Conference, with a 6-3 conference record, going into yesterday's away game against Marion Center. The Bobcats will visit Kiski Prep today.

Palmer hoped Tuesday's loss would have a positive effect on his team.

"We're going to have a long talk at practice," he said. "We have a tough road ahead, and we need to get on another roll, and learn how to play a whole game. Hopefully, this loss will wake us up."

On Monday afternoon, though, Blairsville was wide awake as it pulled off the improbable.

After a lopsided 14-5 loss earlier in the season against previously undefeated Homer-Center, Blairsville rebounded with a stunning 7-6 come-from-behind upset victory at White Township Recreation Center.

"I told the kids if they gave me 110 percent today, they were going to leave this field happy, and they're looking pretty happy right now," Palmer said following the game. "We got off to a slow start this season, and I told our kids that if we keep working, we're going to get better and better. I think we're finally believing in ourselves, and that's the big thing."

Before their loss to Laurel Valley, the Bobcats had been red-hot over the previous month--riding a four-game winning streak, with victories against Northern Cambria, Purchase Line, United, and Homer- Center. …

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