By BOB MILLER
Daily Herald Sports Editor
Juniata VFW came to Bellwood with some startling early season statistics. The VFW offense had outscored their first three opponents 30-1 and the Juniata pitchers had allowed just two hits in their first three ballgames. Defending champion Martin Oil was facing this juggernaut in their season opener in the George B. Kelley Federation.
Although they outhit and outscored Juniata VFW’s first three foes, it wasn’t nearly enough in an 11-4 triumph for the Juniata VFW club.
Martin Oil was their own worst enemy, committing five errors and walking 10 batters and hitting another.
After Juniata VFW opened the contest with three runs in the top of the first, two of them unearned, Martin Oil narrowed the score to 3-1 on an unearned run of their own.
Jake Manning reached on an error, then stole second base. Nate Gray drew the first of two walks for the Martin Oil shortstop. Justin Manning reached on a fielder’s choice that erased his brother. Juniata starting pitcher Josh Adams then walked Cameron Irwin, and Trey Mock to force in Gray with a run.
Martin Oil closed the gap to 3-2 with a single tally in the third inning. Gray walked and was replaced by Justin Manning, who hit into three fielder’s choices in the game. Manning put himself in scoring position by stealing second and third base and scored on Martin Oil’s first hit of the season, a soft liner to center by Ian Pankoke.
Juniata VFW got those runs back and more in the top of the fourth, when Rick McPhee bombed a three-run home run, a dozen feet up into the evergreen trees beyond the right field fence. With the help of Martin Oil walks and errors, Juniata VFW kept scoring, putting up a single run in the fifth and two each in the sixth and seventh to prevent a Martin Oil comeback.
Martin Oil got two runs in the fifth. Justin Manning walked, and went to second on a wild pitch by Ryan Beasom, who picked up the win in relief. Cam Irwin singled to score Manning and took second and Trey Mock walked for the third straight time. With one down, Chad Coho scored Irwin with a sacrifice fly to left.
Mock took the loss for Martin Oil, surrendering six runs, four earned in four innings, on three hits, with three strikeouts and four walks. Newcomer Nate Plummer, a 16-year old, finished up for Martin Oil on the mound. Plummer gave up five runs in three innings with one K and six walks. Irwin had two singles for Martin Oil, who used a total of 18 players in the game.
“Trey Mock pitched a pretty good game to begin the season,” said Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “But, we can’t expect to win very many games walking 10 and having five errors. Trey actually threw only one bad pitch, the home run ball, and was a victim of a couple errors in the first inning. We ended up with just one less hit than Juniata VFW had, but need to put more hits together, score runs, and do a better job on defense keeping our opponents off the bases.”
Juniata VFW 11 Martin Oil 4
Juniata VFW – Weyandt, 2b, 2-1-1; McPhee, cf, 3-3-1; Lytle, rf-3b, 4-2-0; Walters, c, 3-0-1; Reilly, cr, 0-1-0; Smithmyer, ss, 4-1-1; Adams, p-rf, 3-1-2; Kawtoski, cr, 0-0-0; Beasom, 1b-p, 1-0-0; Black, lf, 3-1-1; Moschella, 3b-1b, 2-1-0; Elliot, p, 0-0-0; Colombo, cr, 0-0-0. TOTALS 25-11-7.
Martin Oil – Ja. Manning, c, 4-0-1; Davis, cr, 0-0-0; Gray, ss, 0-1-0; Plummer, p, 2-0-1; J. Coho, cr, 0-0-0; Ju. Manning, 2b, 3-2-0; Albright, lf, 0-0-0; Irwin, dh, 3-1-2; Mock, p-ss, 1-0-0; Wolfe, cr, 0-0-0; Pankoke, cf, 3-0-1; Doyle, ph, 1-0-0; C. Coho, 3b, 3-0-1; Gorby, pr, 0-0-0; Miller, 1b-rf, 3-0-1; Beech, ph, 1-0-0; Kovac, rf, 3-0-0, DeGennaro, 1b, 0-0-0. TOTALS 26-4-6.
Juniata VFW 300 312 2 11-7-2.
Martin Oil 101 020 0 4-6-5.
E: Lytle, Smithmyer, Gray 2, Ja. Manning, Plummer, Albright.
2B: Adams 2.
RBI: McPhee 3, Black 2, Walters, Adams, Irwin, Pankoke, C. Coho.
SO: Beasom 4, Elliot 2, Mock 3, Plummer 1.
BB: Adams 3, Beasom 4, Mock 4, Plummer 6.
WP: Beasom LP: Mock Save:Elliot
By BOB MILLER