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Roneberg powers Altoona Curve to third victory over Bowie

After Wednesday night’ complete breakdown, Altoona needed for someone to step forward and take charge.
On Thursday night, before a crowd of 6,405 at Blair County ballpark, Brett Roneberg, the Curve’s Australian left fielder slammed a home run in the second inning to get a lead for Altoona spot starter Rick Palma. Then two innings later after Bowie had taken a 2-1 lead with the help three Altoona errors, Roneberg tripled in one run to tie the score and came home a batter later to put the Curve ahead for good in a 4-2 Altoona win.
“I’ve been feeling good the last few days and starting to put together some better at bats,” said Roneberg. “I’ve been working hard with Rock (Curve bench coach John Wehner) and that’s what happens. A home run builds confidence for me and for everybody. Bowie comes in and we win three out of four. Right now, all that matters is wins.”
With one down in the second against Bowie starter Mike Paradis, Roneberg muscled up to drill the ball over the right field wall for his seventh home run and 50th RBI of the year for the first run of the ballgame.
Bowie came back in the next two innings to take the lead with some heelp from the Altoona defense that faltered for the second night in a row.
In the third, with one out and Eli Whiteside on first after singling up the middle, second baseman Jose Castilo committed errors on back-to-back plays to allow Whiteside to score an unearned run. First Castillo failed to field a ball hit by Kurt Airoso, that trickled off his glove. Then with runners on first and second, Castillo took a throw from Shaun Skrehot on a grounder hit by Keith Reed. Castillo stepped on second to force Airoso, but threw wildly to first sending Whiteside home with the tying run.
An inning later, Juan Diaz, who has been drilling the ball all over Blair County Ballpark, doubled over right fielder Shawn Garrett’s head to lead off the fourth. Ruben Rivera lined a base hit to left with Diaz stopping at third. Ivanon Coffie, grounder was botched at first base by Chan Perry scoring Diaz with the go-ahead tally.
In the bottom of the fourth Castillo reached base on an error by Baysox shortstop Ed Rogers. After Perry flied out, Roneberg tied the score with his three-bagger and scored to give the Curve a 3-2 lead on an RBI single by Chris Shelton. For the second night in a row, Shelton got an RBI hit on a bad-hop base hit. On Thursday with Roneberg at thirs, Bowie brought their infield up and Shelton bounced a single over Roger’s head.
“I started to hit the ball hard and get some hits in the Harrisburg series,” explained Shelton. “I got some confidence and had some balls fall in for me. I was just trying to stay in the middle and get a ball up in the zone. He (Paradis) was throwing a pretty good sinker tonight. I got one that started up in the zone and then right at the end it cut in on me. Lucky enough for me, it hit off the ground and got up in the air over the infield. Paradis made a good pitch and I got lucky tonight.”
Palma tossed a good ballgame, going fiver innings, giving up two unearned runs on four hits, striking out four and walking two. Shawn Camp and Todd Ozias each pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Camp struck out three Ozias fanned one and neither hurler walked a batter. Camp yielded one harless single with two outs in the seventh and then struckout the following hitter. Ozias picked up his 19th save pitching hitless baseball.
“I’m extremely proud of everyone out there today to bounce back after a tough inning,” said Sveum. “I’m even more proud of Palma. When we really needed it, he pitched a heck of a game. He pitched five innings and without those mistakes we made, probably could have pitched at least one more inning. You can’t say enough about him. That’s three outstanding starts for Rick. Camp stayed in there after taking a missile off his leg pitching as well as he did. (With one out in the Bowie seventh, Airoso lined a shot off Camp’s leg, but the Curve righthander recovered to throw the batter out and then completed the inning.) That was as sharp as Ozias has benn in awhile.”
Altoona picked up one more tally in the sixth. Shelton singled to start the frame and came around to score on a double play by J. R. House.
Altoona travels to Akron for a three-game set with the division-leading Akron Aeros, then returnes to Blair County Ballpark for three more games against Bowie.
John VanBenschoten (5-4, 3.84 ERA), the Pirates number one minor league prospect, according to Baseball Weekly will be on the mound for Altoona while Akron will counter with right-hander Kyle Denny (7-3, 2.52), who returns from the Indians Triple-A club after leading the Eastern League in ERA when he was here before being promoted.