Altoona dominates under the lights
August 07, 2012 -
After falling in a heart-breaking loss to Philadelphia on opening night, Johnstown's Berkley Hills Renegades were quickly eliminated from the national tournament by an offensive onslaught from local rivals Altoona Nittany Oil. It is the first time since 2006 that Johnstown has allowed runs in double digits, and the first time since 1996 that Johnstown has exited the tournament winless. Eighteen runs is the most scored by an Altoona team since they beat Johnstown 18-6 in 1999 on their way to a national runner-up performance.
Earlier in the day, Altoona general manager Joe Faretta decided to take his team on a field trip to get their minds off their stunning loss to Columbus on Monday. The team toured the Blaine Boring Chocolate Factory to see the candy making process and sample the product. The trip must have given the team a sweet-tooth for runs, because their bats came alive right from the opening pitch.
The night was over almost before it began for Johnstown. Starter Ben Weimer allowed 2 hits and 2 walks in his first four batters. Justin Taylor then followed with a grand slam over the Screen Monster in left field as the first five batters all scored.
"Justin Taylor is one of my mainstays," said Faretta. "He has a temendous swing."
With no outs, Weimer walked Cody Doran, which ended his night. AJ Rievel came in to pitch, but walked the first batter he faced before getting Jordan Faretta to ground into a double play. Rievel struck out Von Walker (the ninth batter of the inning), but Altoona was sitting firmly in control with a 6-run lead.
Altoona starter Braedon Pennington sent Johnstown down in order in the first inning, but allowed a triple to Ryan Uhl to start the second. With two outs, Matt Kastelic singled to shallow right to put Johnstown on the board. With Rievel having struck out 2 in the previous half inning, it looked like the Renegades could make a charge at a come back victory.
Altoona Keeps Rolling
Nittany Oil added a run in the third. Taylor walked and stole second, and scored on Faretta's two-out short-hop single to third base. In the fourth, the rout was official on. Mike Marcinko led off with a single and stole two bases. Pennington, Mock, and Taylor were all walked, forcing home a run. After a strike out to Doran (second out of the inning), Ryan Hill singled on a 3-2 pitch, scoring 2 runs. He was followed by Faretta, who singled to right scoring a run. Finally, Von Walker singled in the 12th run of the game for Altoona before Marcinko flew out to right to end the inning.
Johnstown did not send more than 4 batters to the plate in any of the first four innings, as Pennington registered a strike out in every inning.
"That's a tremendous performance and he's a tremendous kids" said Faretta of Pennington. "Congratulations to him in front of a lot of pro scouts; the guns were on him and he was topping out at 93 mph."
"I had a lot of days rest and came out feeling good. My arm was 100% and I had all my pitches working," said Pennington, who had been scheduled to start the Reginoal championship game that was not played due to a forfeit by New York.
New Arms, Same Result
The Renegade's new pitcher for the fifth inning was Ben Legath, but he was quickly hit by Brandon Myers and Pennington. Legath settled down to strike out Mock, but walked Taylor to load the bases. He struck out Doran, but then walked Hill to force in yet another run. An error by the shortstop let the 14th run score on the next at batter before Legath retired the side with his third strike-out.
In the sixth inning, Legath gave up two walks to lead off the inning, setting up Pennington's 3-run home run blast over the Screen Monster. The towering shot even had local fand and opposing players applauding the offensive effort of the visitors. To top it all off, Austin Mock hit a solo home run also over the screen. Johnstown manager Larry McCabe brought in Ryan Dandrea to pitch, and he recorded 3 consecutive outs to end the inning.
Final Hoorah for Hosts
Down 18-1, Johnstown scratched back for two runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Tim Scholly now pitching, Uhl was hit by a pitch and Jake Pirbanic tripled to right field to score him. Pribanic then scored himself on a wild pitch. Scholly walked John Jones, but then retired the next three (with one strike out) to move the game into the seventh.
Neither team scored in the seventh. Both Dandrea and Scholly ended their respective half-innings with 2 consecutive strike outs. The loss eliminated host Johnstown from the tournament, while Altoona will advance to play Youngstown. Nittany Oil will start Jordan Fuller on the mound.
"I'm surprised [by the score] only because I know how good the Renegades are," said Faretta. "Last night, I felt they should have won that game. I told our guys that [the Renegades] are a great team and that the only way we can beat this team is to come out fired up and get on them early."
"Hats off to Altoona," said Johnstown manager Larry McCabe. "They swung the bats tonight and deserved everything they got."
ALL TIME SERIES RESULTS
ALTOONA ( 3 ) - YOUNGSTOWN ( 0 )
* Correction - Pribanic his Johnstown's triple in the sixth, not Wolsonovich.