There was nothing in particular the Pacelli baseball team did wrong on Monday in its region game at home against Schley County. It just ran into a pitcher throwing his best stuff, who also happened to swing a pretty good bad on offense.
Brett Usry almost single-handedly led the visitors to a 7-1 victory at Diemel Field, pitching six innings of three-hit ball and recording 13 of his 18 outs via strikeout. Offensively, Usry was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, accounting for three runs via RBIs and one run scored.
“He was tough,” coach Randy Grace said after the game. “We played a good team tough. Now, we need to learn how to finish.”
Pacelli held the early advantage, leading the game 1-0 through two innings. Jonathan Justo had doubled to begin Pacelli’s at-bat in the bottom of the first, and he came around to score on an RBI single from Justin Seguin. But those were the only two hits Usry allowed until Jared Welch reached on an infield single in the sixth inning.
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During that time frame, Schley County added two runs in the third, one in the fifth and three in the sixth, the majority of which came thanks to Usry. Usry drove in the team’s second run of the game on an RBI double in the third and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth, driven in by Blake Howell.
The game was still within reach when the Wildcats came to bat in the sixth inning. With one out, though, Josh Hutchens reached on an error and Michael Leeder followed with an RBI single to go ahead 4-1. Usry came up next, and launched a home run over the right-center field wall to give his team a commanding 6-1 advantage. Schley County scored one more run in the seventh and sent Pacelli down in three batters in the bottom half to secure the win.
Four players recorded hits for Pacelli: Justo finished 1-for-3, Welch 1-for-2, Seguin 1-for-3 and starting pitcher Lee Holman 1-for-3. Holman was saddled with the loss, but gave up on four earned runs and struck out four over 5 1/3 innings.
Despite the loss, Grace was fairly upbeat after the game, preferring to focus on the fact that Pacelli, which won just three games a year ago, wouldn’t have even been in this game back then.
“Our guys competed hard,” he said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. The good thing is we get to come back and try again tomorrow (at Our Lady of Mercy). I told them it’s a process. We’re getting better, now we need to get over that hump.”
Pacelli is still firmly entrenched in the playoff race for Class A-private. At 2-3 in Region 4-A play, it has dropped further back of the leaders like Schley County and Brookstone. In the power rankings, however, it was No. 8 in the most recent edition. A top-eight finish could mean a home playoff game as an at-large berth.
On Tuesday, Pacelli travels to Our Lady of Mercy while Schley County hosts Baconton Charter.
Monday at Pacelli
Schley County 002 013 1—7 12 0
Pacelli 100 000 0—1 4 3
WP—Brett Usry. LP—Lee Holman. Leading hitters—Schley County, Michael Leeder 2-5, RBI, 2 Rs, Brett Usry 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBIs, R, Blake Howell 3-4, RBI; Pacelli, Jonathan Justo 1-3, 2B, R, Justin Seguin 1-3, RBI, Lee Holman 1-3. Records—Schley County, 10-3, 6-1; Pacelli, 8-4, 2-3. Next—Schley County, Tuesday vs. Baconton Charter at home.; Pacelli, Tuesday at Our Lady of Mercy.