TOIVOLA - Pat's Foods (Hancock) manager Pete Guidotti has spent much of this Twilight League season wondering and worrying each game whether he will have enough players to field a full team.
Tuesday's contest against Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix (Toivola) was no different. His expected starting pitcher did not show up, and neither of his normal catchers were present either.
But for once, it may have been a blessing in disguise.
Playing in his first Twilight League game, Dylan Lantz started for Pat's Foods and with 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball, picked up the win for Pat's Foods. Fellow newcomer Jon Crawford - a Finlandia baseball player - closed the game out with just one more run allowed to pick up the save in a 4-3 win.
"I had a couple pitchers show up who I didn't know were going to be here - in fact, I didn't even know them," Guidotti said. "They came in and they did a really good job for us."
Sporting a huge fastball, Lantz struck out four in a row at one point and seven overall before tiring in the fifth inning.
Crawford sported a more finesse but no less effective approach, punching out four of his own and stranding the bases loaded in the fifth frame.
"Hoo, (Lantz) can throw some heat," Guidotti said. "And then Crawford was a little softer, a little more breaking stuff, and I think the combination of the two really threw off the (Mosquito Inn) guys."
Lantz was spotted a two-run lead before he even took the field, after Carl Roscoe led off the game with a triple - scoring later on a wild pitch - and a pair of infield errors allowed Lee Naugle to score.
Roscoe added another hit and walk later in the game, but it was his defense that was most impressive. Normally a center fielder, Roscoe was called upon behind the plate Tuesday and made the transition look seamless.
"He has been wanting to catch," Guidotti said. "He said, 'You know, I like catching some.' And I said, 'You know, I like you in center field.'
"But he was great back there."
Toivola made a serious run at a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one and putting runners at second and third with two outs.
Jason Coffey hit a sharp grounder to third, however, and the tension ended when first baseman Naugle was able to cleanly scoop a one-hop throw.
"A tinch nervous, just a tinch," Guidotti joked after the game.
Pat's 2001010 - 4 7 0
MI/CM 0020001 - 3 5 3
WP: Dylan Lantz, 4 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 1 HBP
LP: Justin Poirier, 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 4 BB
Pat's - Carl Roscoe, 2-for-3, 3B, run, BB.
Mosquito - Steve Lishinski, 1-for-1, 3 BB.