HANCOCK - BlueSky Health was far from perfect Thursday night, but it got enough offensive contributions throughout the lineup and steady pitching to beat Pat's Foods 13-7 and clinch its second-place standing in the four-team Twilight League.
All 10 BSH batters reached base in the game, led by a 4-for-5 night from Ray Wojtala, and Scott Storm's persistent off-speed pitching kept the hosts off balance long enough to secure the win - despite three defensive errors, five Storm walks and two unforced outs on the basepaths.
"I pitched slow, slow and slower," said Storm, whose only other start of the year was a 12-5 win against Pat's on July 10. "It was effective for five (innings), then the wheels fell off."
BlueSky Health’s Chase Sturos drills an RBI single to right field to give his team a 6-0 second-inning lead over Pat’s Foods Thursday night. BlueSky locked up second place in the Twilight League standings with a 13-7 win over the hosts in Hancock. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
Pat's got four of its seven runs in the final two innings, but it did little to dent BlueSky's healthy lead. In fact, BSH got four runs of its own right off the bat in the first inning and never looked back. Pat's made it as close as 7-3 in the fourth inning, but BlueSky responded with another four-run burst in the top of the fifth inning.
"You get down by four right away, and it's easy to let up, but our guys kept battling back a little at a time. That part of it I liked," Pat's second baseman Dan Pertile said. "But walks and untimely errors and all of a sudden it's a three- or four-run inning. That's kind of been the story of our season."
Pertile was specifically referring to the fifth inning when C.J. Lepisto walked Paul Moyryla and Dan Juopperi after Wojtala led off the inning with a single. Then, a Greg Seppanen groundball that could have been a double play skirted under the glove of Pat's second baseman Ryan Puuri, allowing two runs to score. That made it 9-3, and another run scored on an errant pickoff attempt thrown into center field.
BSH 430040 2 - 13 14 3
Pat's 011103 1 - 7 6 2
WP: Scott Storm 7 IP, 7 R, 6 H, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP
LP: Jon Crawford 1 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 1 K, 1 BB
BlueSky Health: Ray Wojtala 4-5, 2 RBI
Pat's Foods: Carl Roscoe 1-5, 2 RBI
Lepisto allowed seven earned runs and walked seven batters in six innings of work after being forced into the game when starter Jon Crawford had to exit with an arm injury after just one inning.
"We felt comfortable tonight figuring we were going to have a good shot at this game knowing we had guys coming in, but pitching is always a question mark for us," Pertile said.
Pat's pitching ace Preston Hutchens hasn't been available for a couple weeks, and No. 2 pitcher Lee Naugle has been limited by injury, too.
Naugle has still contributed offensively, and he tallied Pat's first RBI of the night in the third inning. Pat's first run of the game came when Luke Paul successfully stole home in the second on Storm's slow left-handed delivery and pitch.
Pat's tacked on three runs in the sixth inning thanks to a two-RBI double from Carl Roscoe and an RBI single by Lepisto.
BSH had strung together hits numerous times, with Keith Halonen, Jason Koski, Wojtala and Moyryla notching consecutive first-inning hits; and Johnny Raisanen, Chase Sturos and Brian Juopperi putting together three straight hits in the second.
BlueSky (7-5) will visit first-place Stanton (11-1) on Tuesday, while Pat's (3-9) will host Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix (3-9).
Each team will play the other three teams once more before the regular season concludes and playoffs start on Aug. 2.