Juniata Civics defeated Altoona Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center, 8-4, thanks to a strong outing by Tyson Steele on a wet evening at Seitz Field on Wednesday night.
Steele went all seven innings, striking out 10 and allowing four earned runs.
Teammate Andy Scalice, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and drove in two RBIs, also helped Juniata Civics take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three championship series.
"I was pretty nervous," Steele said. "Because this is the championship game, I wanted to pitch well and I did."
Steele also was a big contributor for Juniata Civics at the plate, as he blasted a home run in the sixth inning that drove in two runs, giving Juniata Civics a comfortable 8-2 lead.
"It was a big hit for me, and once I saw it was gone, then I got very excited," Steele said.
Jake Willis hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh to bring AAOC within four runs of Juniata Civics, but Steele struck out the final batter to seal the win.
Juniata Civics manager Andy Kepner felt good about his team after the victory.
"We played well, and Tyson going all seven was a big help for us tonight," Kepner said. "[I] have to give credit to AAOC, though. They played a good game, and they were tough to beat tonight. We'll need to play well again [today] if we expect to beat [AAOC] again."
AAOC's Elliot Robertson also pitched well from the mound, allowing only two runs over three innings.
However, the wet field may have contributed to AAOC committing five errors that proved costly. AAOC trailed by only two heading into the fourth inning, but three of Juniata Civic's four runs scored on errors, and AAOC was never able to overcome the 6-0 deficit.
Juniata Civics and AAOC will play the second game of the series at 8 tonight at Seitz Field.
SCORE BY INNINGS
AAOC000 020 2-4 9 5
Juniata Civics110 402 X-8 8 1
2B-Wills (AA), Scalice 2 (JC). HR-Steele (JC). Multiple hits - E. Robertson 2, Willis 2, Keller 2, Wise 2 (AA), Scalice 3 (JC). RBI-Willis 2 (AA), Steele 2, Scalice 2, Servello (JC). WP-Steele. LP-E. Robertson. SO-E. Robertson 2, Willis 5 (AA), Steele 10 (JC). BB-E. Robertson 7, Willis (AA), Steele 5 (JC).