Altoona remains undefeated
July 29, 2012 -
|Altoona Nittany Oil||0||0||1||1||4||1||1||8||11||1||10|
|Brooklyn Bonnie Rams||1||0||0||2||1||1||1||6||11||4||11|
The winner’s bracket afternoon match-up was a highly anticipated encountered between Brooklyn and host Altoona. Both teams displayed a penchant for power in the first round and brought their bats to the semi-finals, as well.
Early runs for both teams
Brooklyn struck first in the bottom of the first as lead-off batter EJ Martinez homered to right field. Angel Pimentel singled and advanced to third on stolen bases, but was stranded.
Altoona’s Nittany Oil responded in the third. Von Walker singled and stole second. Mike Marcinko was hit by a pitch by starter Elvis Dias. Jake Weibley then doubled to left field, scoring Walker. Marcinko attempted to score but was thrown out at the plate. During the play, he ran through the catcher and was ejected per AAABA rules.
Pimentel’s one-out double in the third was for naught as Rios and Comas flew out to end the inning. Altoona took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Justin Taylor led off with a walk, and Cody Doran reached when centerfielder Stan Simmons dropped a fly ball. Ryan Hill followed with a single to score Taylor. Doran and Hill were stranded.
Lead changes put Altoona on top
The lead was short lived. Weibley led off the fifth with a double to left. After Braedon Pennington struck out, Austin Mock reached on an error by short stop Angel Vidal. The ball reached him as Weibley ran in front, causing Vidal to lose sight of the ball and allowing it to reach centerfield. Taylor was then walked and Doran reached on a fielder’s choice. Doran was then out at second on the next play, but Ryan Hill reached safely at first, which allowed Mock to score the second run of the inning. Jordan Faretta then doubled to the gap in left-center scoring Taylor and Hill. Von Walker struck out to end the inning.
"This team is very resilient," said Altoona manager Joe Faretta. "We're very battle-tested."
Runs keep coming
Offense was not hard to come by in this game, as Brooklyn led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run by Angel Pimentel. Melvin Rios followed with a single to center, but was stranded as starter Kyle Schneider retired the next three including one strike out.
Altoona added a run in the sixth. Kyle Peterson led off with a single and Jake Weibley reached on an error by the third baseman. After a close “safe” call for Pennington at first base negated a double play, Austin Mock singled to center to score Peterson from third.
In the bottom of the sixth, a lead-off walk to Cortorreal and a hit-by-pitch on Piniero chased starter Schneider from the game. With Tim Scholly in to pitch for Nittany Oil, Martinez hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corner. Angel Vidal then flew out to left, scoring Cortorreal. Pimentel then doubled to put two in scoring position, but Rios was easier retired at first when his bat shattered, resulting in a slow roller to Taylor, stranding 2.
Altoona holds on in the seventh
One more run was scored by Altoona in the seventh. Doran led off with a single to left that became a double when Comas bobbled the ball. That brought in relief pitcher Miguel Ariza for the Rams. Pinch-hitter KJ Walters singled to center which moved Doran to third, and Faretta’s fly out to center brought Doran across the plate. Cody Henderson was walked, but Jake Weibley’s strike out ended the inning, stranding two in scoring position.
In the bottom of the inning, pitcher Pennington struck out Comas, but then attempted to catch a line shot off the bat of Simmons. With his hand injured, Pennington left the game while Austin Mock moved from short stop to the mound. Joe Mendez was the first batter he faced, and Mendez rolled the ball slowly down the third base line to reach safely. Cortorreal was then walked to load the bases with only one out.
Simmons scored on a fielder’s choice that forced out Mendez at third. Brooklyn trailed 8-6. Both remaining runners advanced on a wild pitch. The Brooklyn bench was alive and loud with designed-hitter Martinez at the plate and 2 runners in scoring position. After trailing in the count, Martinez was walked by Mock on a full count. With the bases now loaded, Mock struck out Angel Vidal on an inside 2-2 pitch to clinch the win for Altoona.
"That was a battle," said Altoona's Faretta. "That was a great game. Two really good teams going at it and that's what we'll see in Johnstown next week."
Both teams had at least one hit in every inning. The two teams combined for 22 hits, including 6 doubles and 2 home runs. Brooklyn stranded 11 runners and Altoona stranded 10. There were only 7 total walks in the game for both teams, compared to Altoona’s 11 walks issued in the first round.
"It went down to the wire, but unfortunately, earlier in the game we didn't make the plays," said veteran Brooklyn manager Jerry Katzke. "One inning, we had 3 or 4 bad plays and that's when they got their runs. We hit the ball very well, but we didn't make enough defensive plays to back them up."
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