SYKESVILLE — The Sykesville Senators held serve on their home field Tuesday evening and evened the Federation League Championship Series at 2-2 with an 8-5 victory against DuBois at the Reynoldsville Senior League Field.
Both teams sent their veterans to the hill, with DuBois’ TJ Gornati squaring off against Sykesville’s Dan “Wookie” Wascovich.
Both pitchers were let down by their defenses at times, with a combine five unearned runs scoring in the game. But in the end, it was Sykesville that gave its starter a few more runs and made a couple huge defensive plays when it mattered most to make it four wins in four games for the home team in the series.
Sykesville roughed up Gornati for eight runs, five earned, on 10 hits through the first five innings as the Senators built an 8-2 lead. However, comebacks have been a theme in the Fed League playoffs this year, and the Rockets tried to add another to that résumé Tuesday.
Wascovich took a four-hitter into the top of the sixth before the Rockets finally got to him — pounding on six straight hits in the inning to make things interesting.
Matt Zimmerman led off the sixth with an infield single into the hole a short, while Garrett Brown singled to right. Clayton Read then singled up the middle and Zimmerman scored when the ball was misplayed by Jared Baummer in center.
Dan Bowman made it four hits in a row with a single to center that plated Brown. Baummer again misplayed the ball. DuBois tried to score Read on the play as well, but Baummer hit cutoff man Devon Walker and fired home to catcher Austin Blauser, who tagged Read for the first out as he slid past the Senator.
That decision to send Read proved costly as Gornati followed with a single to left — DuBois’ fifth in a row — to put runners on the corners. That hit would have scored Read.
Gornati’s single also spelled the end for Wascovich, as Anthony Kness came on in relief. Thayne Morgan greeted Kness with a single to right that scored Bowman to make it an 8-5 game.
However, Morgan tried to stretch the hit into a double and was gunned down at second by Garrett Prosper for the second out in the inning. Kness then got Zane Morgan to ground out to Devon Walker at second on a ball Walker nearly got on a line drive on his shoe tops before throwing on to first.
The Rockets tried to make some noise in the seventh when Kness hit Sen Zimmerman with one out and Matt Zimmerman followed with his second infield hit of the game.
But. Kness stopped the rally there as he got Brown and Read both the fly out to Prosper in right to earn the save. Prosper ended the game in style as he made a sliding snow cone catch on a ball hit by Read for the final out.
Pivotal Game 5 is set for this evening at Showers Field at 6 p.m., with each team looking to get within one victory of capturing the title.
DuBois jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning Tuesday as Morgan led off the game with a single and took second when the ball was misplayed by Prosper in right. He scored later in the inning on a clutch two-out single by Sean Zimmerman to make it 1-0.
Sykesville got that run back in the bottom of the second.
Prosper jump-started a rally with a two-out single to center. He went to third on a double by Jude Lander and scored on a single to right by Austin Blauser before Gornati ended the inning with a strikeout.
Morgan, who had three hits, ripped a one-out double in the third but was stranded there.
The Senators then grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the third.
Brandon Sicheri led off the inning with a walk and scored when Adam Fox followed with a two-run home run to left field. Felix kept thing going with a walk, while Devon Walker followed with a single to center. Both runners took an extra base when Brown misplayed the ball in center.
A groundout by Ryan Walker scored Felix to put the Senators up 4-1 before Sykesville loaded the bases with just one out. DuBois second baseman Matt Zimmerman then made a heads up defensive play, as he dropped a line drive off the bat of Blauser to turn a 4-3 inning-ending double play.
Wascovich then stranded two DuBois runners in the top of the fourth before his offense tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the inning.
Baummer led off with a bunt single, while Sicheri reached on an error. DuBois then elected to intentionally walk Fox to load the bases.
Felix followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Baummer before Devon Walker recorded his second single to reload then bases. A broken-bat single to left by Ryan Walker plated Sicheri to make it 6-1, while a sac fly to center by Prosper upped the Senators’ advanatge to 7-1 after four innings.
DuBois got a run back in the fifth when Morgan drew a leadoff walk and later scored on error to make it 7-2.
Sykesville got that run right back in the bottom of the fifth.
Sicheri got things started with a two-out single and DuBois again elected to intentionally walk Fox. And, Felix again came through, this time ripping a book-rule double that one-hopped the fence in left scoring Sicheri for an 8-2 lead.
DuBois tried its best to stage a comeback like the Senators did in Game 2 in Reynoldsville, but Sykesville’s victory turned the Fed League finals into a mini best-of-three series now for the title.