Mata and Avery power Pennsylvania into the semifinals

Written by Bob on August 14th, 2012

By BOB OTTO

MIDLAND, MI – The Pennsylvania team from Harrisburg needed an infusion of power and they got it – in the circle and at the plate.

Right-handed Lucas Mata fired a one-hitter and struck out nine Toronto Gators in leading the Pennsylvania Power to a 3-0 victory, Tuesday, in a quarterfinal matchup.

PA Power now advances into the semifinals on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. where they will take on the ISC’s No. 1 ranked New York Gremlins, who knocked off the California A’s, 6-0, on Tuesday. The Gremlins’ Andrew Kirkpatrick tossed a three hitter and struck out eight.

Toronto Gators’ starter Justin Schofield only gave up three hits in his three innings before being relieved by Andrew Putnam in the fourth. But Power made the most of those hits.

Starting with Tom Avery batting in the seven spot.

Avery drilled an inside the park home run in the bottom half of the second, chasing Karl Gollan around the bases. Gollan worked Schofield for a walk to set up Avery’s two-run blast.

Avery’s line drive barely eluded the diving attempts of the Gators’ right fielder and centerfielder. As they tumbled to the ground, the ball rolled to the fence and Avery legged his way around the bases.

“He (Schofield) had burned me with a couple of outside pitches, a curve and a drop,” said Avery (1-for-2). “Luckily I hit it and it found a hole.”

Sergio La Hoz (1-3) gave Mata an insurance run in the third when he laced a two-run double, plating Thomas Enoka (1-3), who singled with one out.

Those three runs proved too much for the Gators to overcome. Mata, from Argentina, mixed up his rise, drop and change-up, and the Gators had trouble making solid contact.

Greg Garrity had the lone hit off Mata, a first inning single, and was hit by a pitch in the fourth. Joel Langford and Ray Carr each walked once. Only three balls reached the outfield off Mata (2-0), but were easy fly balls to left field.

The Gators got a fine relief performance from Putnam over the final three innings. The right-hander allowed but one hit, a single by Frank DeGroat in the sixth, but Putnam struck out Gollan and Doug Lohman to end the inning. Putnam finished with four strikeouts and a hit batter.

But it was Mata who dominated in this game. And he is no stranger to quality world tournament pitching performances.

In the 2011 World Tournament, he pitched the California A’s to fifth place with a 3-2 record. He earned himself a spot on the All-World second team with a 2-0 record, 0.00 ERA, and 45 strikeouts in 23 innings. He’s also a member of the Argentina Men’s National Team.

So with Mata in the circle, Avery likes the Power’s chances contending for a world tournament title.

“With Mata we’re in every game,” he said, “We can make a game of it and hang with any team. We’re having a good run this year and meshing real well.”

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