SEMINOLE — Against district rival Countryside on Tuesday night, Seminole needed help from just about all its key players.
There was Michael Mann with a clutch two-out, two-run single in the third. There was starter Nick Nolan with six strong innings. There was Scott Withrow with a sixth-inning triple and Corey Baptist with an RBI single to drive him in.
And then there was closer Tylor Craft with a perfect seventh inning. The result was a hard-fought 3-2 win.
“That’s the way it’s been so far,” Seminole coach Jeff Pincus said. “They seem to make every game close.”
With Countryside ace Jake Mielock matching Nolan pitch for pitch, it was clear this game was going to be close. Both pitchers cruised through the first two innings before Seminole (7-1) got on the scoreboard in the third.
Austin Lamoreux led off with a single and with one out, Withrow singled to put two on. A groundout from Baptist advanced the runners.
Then Mann singled to right to score both to make it 2-0.
After allowing just one hit through four innings, Nolan ran into trouble in the fifth. He allowed a leadoff single to Zach Taylor then a double to Christian Townsend that scored Taylor.
Jack Skantze then singled home Townsend to tie the game. A walk to Robert Robicheau put runners at first and second with no outs. But after two failed bunt attempts, Zach Koenn struck out.
Charlie Skantze then grounded to third and Seminole third baseman Chris Berry turned a double play to end the inning.
“We just didn’t execute when we needed to,” Countryside coach Kemo O’Sullivan said. “We couldn’t get that bunt down, didn’t make a few other plays we should have. But hey, that’s a good team over there. You can’t make mistakes and beat them.”
In the top of the sixth, Withrow tripled with one out. On the first pitch, Baptist laced a singled to left that scored Withrow with the eventual winner.
“I knew with first base open he was going to come at me soft with the first pitch,” Baptist said. “I just sat on the curveball and that’s what he threw.”
Nolan shut down the Cougars (4-2) in the sixth before giving way to Craft in the seventh. He struck out two and got a groundout to first to end the game.
“I was going to come out (in the sixth) either way,” Nolan said. “That (run) just gave me more confidence. I know my team’s got my back, and they came up with a big run.”
Nolan earned the win after allowing four hits and striking out five. Mielock finished with nine strikeouts and one walk.