CENTER TOWNSHIP â€” Kovacik Insurance strikes quickly and hits hard.
Kovacik Insurance, the Blairsville entry in the Youth Legion Western Regional baseball tournament, ran its postseason winning streak to three games, beating Smethport, 9-2, in the third game of four at steamy First Commonwealth Bank Field on Saturday.
The Indiana County champion kept its season going by taking two straight games from Brookville to qualify for the regional. Facing the Elk/McKean champion, Kovacik struck for five runs in the fourth inning to take the lead and tacked on four more runs in the fifth to remain in the winnersâ€™ bracket at the eight-team regional.
Kovacik Insurance (21-7) plays Uniontown at 4 p.m. today. Uniontown, the West runner-up, advanced with a 5-4 win over Millcreek, handing the Northwest champion its first loss of the season.
Indiana Countyâ€™s other entry, S.W. Jack, the tournament host, lost its opener on Saturday night, 5-0 to Somerset champion Farmington. The last two games of the day were pushed back two hours, to 6 and 9 p.m., in an effort to provide some relief from the oppressive heat.
In Saturdayâ€™s other early game, Corry, the Northwest runner-up, topped Plum, the West champion, 5-3.
Kovacik Insurance broke its game open in the fourth inning after falling behind 2-0 on lone runs in the first and third innings. Brayden Mickinac struck the big blow in the inning, smacking a three-run
double. Anthony Lasser drove in a couple more runs with a fly ball that the outfielder lost in the sun.
In the fifth, Mickinac drove in another run, giving him four RBIs on a 2-for-4 day. Hank Skirboll cranked out three of Kovacikâ€™s nine hits, and Lasser finished with two.
Lasser picked up the win with three innings of one-hit, shutout relief on 27 pitches, coming on for Andrew Baker in the fourth. Cole Stuchal pitched the final inning.
Farmington took a 2-0 lead on S.W. Jack in the third inning, stretched it to 4-0 in the fourth without the benefit of a hit and set the final in the fifth.
S.W. Jack managed only three hits.