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Martin Oil drops pair in NABF Regional Tourney

In the stretch

Martin Oil first baseman Justin Miller stretches to take the throw while Maryland Titan batter Ben Moreland flies down the first base line during the NABF game at vets Field on Thursday evening. Maryland crunched Martin Oil 9-2. Miller had three of Martin Oil’s eight hits in their two games on Thursday. (The Daily Herald/Stacey Manning)

Still throwing

Tyrone native Dick Rupert, middle, shakes hands with Martin Oil player Nate Gray (4), following the introduction of the 1957 Altoona team that won the NABF National Tournament. Rupert, a part of that team pitched two complete-game wins in the 1957 NABF, striking out 26 batters, while walking seven and allowing eight hits in 18 innings. The 1957 team was honored prior to the Martin Oil-Maryland Titans game at Vets Field. (The Daily Herald/Stacey Manning)

The switch from aluminum to wood was very evident for the Martin Oil baseball team in the National Amateur Baseball Federation Regional Tournament at Altoona on Thursday. The George B. Kelley Federation champions received their trophy for sponsor Tom Martin and his wife Christina prior to the start of the 7:30 p.m. game at Vets Field, but were able to count just four hits in each of the two ballgames, after banging the ball all around the field during the regular season and Kelley Federation playoffs, when they batted over .350 and averaged over 11 runs per game.
In the opening game at 1 p.m. against Springdale from the Pittsburgh area, Martin Oil lefty Earnie Kelley and Springdale right-hander Sam O’Neill dueled a thriller that Springdale pulled out on a pair of sixth-inning runs, one unearned for a 2-1 victory.
Both hurlers struck out seven batters, allowed four hits, while Martin Oil had three errors, and Springdale had their defense commit two errors. Kelley was one better in bases on balls, issuing two free passes, while O’Neill walked three.
After neither side was able to scratch a run over the first four innings, Martin Oil got on the scoreboard first in the top of the fifth. Jamie Levinson, a Tyrone Legion pickup, opened the frame with a single to left. Levinson stole second base and Justin Manning walked. Jimmy Watters forced Levinson out at third base on a fielder’s choice, before Justin Miller singled to right to score Manning.
Mike O’Neill opened the Springdale sixth by reaching on an error and scored one out later when winning pitcher Sam O’Neill doubled to tie the score. Dylan Songer then singled to left to score Sam O’Neill with what proved to be the winning run.
Miller had two of Martin Oil’s four hits, but the top four in the Martin Oil lineup went a combined 0-for-11 against O’Neill.
Kelley prevented one scoring threat in the Springdale fourth, after Mike O’Neill singled and went all the way to third on an error on the play. Kelley struck out Justin King and Songer, sandwiched around a soft liner to short by Sam O’Neill. In the fifth, Kelley walked Mike Mulvey, who was sacrificed to second base, but following an error that put runners at first and second, Kelley got a strike out and groundout to end the threat. In the second, Martin Oil catcher Jake Manning threw out a runner attempting to steal second for the final out of the inning, and in the third, Kelley picked off Mark Hayes, after he had walked for the middle out of the inning.
Martin Oil nearly added to their lead in the top of the sixth, after Kelley walked and moved around to third on an errrant throw by O’Neill when the pitcher tried to pick Kelley off first base. Levinson hit a screaming liner that the shortstop gloved to end the inning.
“There was no question,” said Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “That would have ben a hit with a metal bat. That’s the difference with a wooden bats. You have to swing hard, you’re not going to get those little beleeders you can hit with a metal bat. Our kids have no clue with the wood.”
In the nightcap, Brian Hostler got off to a rusty start, walking two Maryland Titan batters in the first inning and both ended up scoring, one on an infield single by Matt Witte and the second on an overthrow on the play.
Maryland added one in the fourth when Hostler hit Hedrick with a pitch and he came around to score on a groundout, and blew the game open with five in the fifth, including RBI singles by Witte and Hedrick and a sac fly by Aaron bell that scored a run.
Martin Oil finally got on the board with single tallies in the sixth and seventh, but it was too little too late.
“We played like the Bad News Bears. I have said all along in both ballgames today that mistakes at this level of competition will kill you,” said Davis. “We might have been able to overcome them in league play, or even in the playoffs, but you commit errors in a tournament like this one and you can’t count on many wins. It is a real experience that our young players hopefully will benefit from in the future, but it is a hard-earned lesson against teams of this caliber.”
When Maryland changed pitchers to begin the sixth, Martin Oil shortstop Nate Gray walked to lead off the inning, and Ben Moreland, in relief of Tyler Witte, then promptly also walked Kelley and Trey Mock. Cameron Irvin brought Gray home with an RBI fielder’s choice. In the seventh, Matt Hinton singled to start the frame and scored when Martin Oil reliever Andy Lytle, a pickup from Juniata VFW doubled to the wall in left center.
Justin Miller doubled to begin the Martin Oil fifth, but was stranded at second by Witte, who allowed two hits and no runs over the first five innings to get the win, striking out five and walking three. Miller had three of Martin oil’s weight hits in the two games. No other Martin Oil player had more than one base hit.
Martin Oil completes their round robin this morning with a 10 a.m. game against the Tri-County Bees from upstate New York.
Thursday afternoon
Springdale 2 Martin Oil 1
Martin Oil – Ja. Manning, c, 3-0-0; Mock, lf, 3-0-0; Gray, ss, 3-0-0; Kelley, p, 2-0-0; Levinson, 2b, 3-0-1; Ju. Manning, rf, 1-0-0; C. Coho, 3b, 3-0-0; Watters, 3-0-1; Miller, 1b, 2-0-2. Totals 23-1-4.
Springdale – M. O’Neill, cf, 3-1-1; King, lf, 3-0-0; S. O’Neill, p, 3-1-1; Songer, c, 3-0-1; Mulvey, 1b, 2-0-0; Kate, rf, 2-0-1; Allen, 3b, 2-0-0; Hayes, 2b, 1-0-0; Wolosik, ss, 2-0-0. TOTALS 21-2-4.
Martin Oil 000 010 0 1-4-2.
Springdale 000 002 X 2-4-2.
2B: S. O’Neill.
RBI: Miller, S. O’Neill, Songer.
SO: Kelley 7, S. O’Neill 7.
BB: Kelley 2, S. O’Neill 3.
WP: S. O’Neill LP: Kelley
Thursday evening
Maryland Titans 9 Martin Oil 2
Maryland Titans – Bandzuchek, cf, 2-1-0; Sheppard, 1b, 4-1-0; Burton, 3b-ss, 3-1-1; Bell, lf, 2-1-0; M. Witte, c, 4-1-2; Hedrick, 2-1-0; Gorge, rf, 1-1-1; Cook, dh, 2-1-1; T. Witte, p, 1-1-0; Knutson, 2b, 3-0-0; Moreland, ss-p. TOTALS 27-9-6.
Martin Oil – Ja. Manning, c, 3-0-0; Stephens, ph, 1-0-0; Hostler, p, 1-0-0; Lytle, p, 2-0-1; Gray, ss, 2-1-0; Beech, ph, 0-0-0; Kelley, cf, 3-0-1; Mock, 2b, 2-0-0; J. Coho, ph, 1-0-0; C. Coho, 3b, 1-0-0; Irvin, 3b, 1-0-0; Watters, lf, 2-0-0; Ju. Manning, lf, 1-0-0; Miller, 1b, 3-0-1; Kovac, rf, 1-0-0; Hinton, rf, 1-1-1. TOTALS 25-2-4.
Maryland Titans 200 150 1 9-6-0.
Martin Oil 000 001 1 2-4-4.
2B: Burton, Lytle, Miller.
RBI: M. Witte 2, Bell, Gorge, Moreland, Irvin, Lytle.
SO: T. Witte 5, Moreland 1, Hostler 2, Lytle 3.
BB: T. Witte 3, Moreland 4, Hostler 4, Lytle 2.
WP: T. Witte LP: Hostler