HOLLIDAYSBURG - Facing an ace, the Hollidaysburg Area High School baseball team unveiled a trump card of its own Monday afternoon.
The Golden Tigers drew a tough non-league assignment against unbeaten Mount Union and its standout senior righthanded pitcher, Clemson University-bound Drew Goodling.
But Hollidaysburg countered with a talented lefthander in junior Corey Barr, who proved to be very much up to the task.
Barr tossed a complete-game six-hitter, striking out 10 Mount Union batters, as Hollidaysburg logged a 4-1 victory on the Hollidaysburg Senior High School baseball field.
"I was able to get ahead in the count, and throw first-pitch strikes,'' Barr said. "My fastball was working, and it had a lot of movement. My curveball was working as well.''
Hollidaysburg assistant coach Jeff Miller, who was running the team Monday with head coach Jon Szynal out of state for a family function, said that the Golden Tigers brought their 'A' game against the fireballing Goodling.
"We have done a nice job chasing good teams' better pitchers,'' Miller said. "Our guys aren't intimidated by anybody.''
Hollidaysburg, which improved to 7-1, broke a scoreless tie in the third inning and added two more runs in the fourth for a 3-0 lead.
In the third inning, rightfielder Dane Scallen reached on a forceout and moved to third on senior left fielder Nathan Pope's second of three singles with two outs. Designated hitter Trevor Nichols followed with a slow roller toward second base. Pope got to the bag just ahead of second baseman Cole Boozel's flip to shortstop Brock Imperioli as Scallen scored.
"He has been our guy for three years,'' Miller said of Pope. "All through his varsity career, he has always done well against the better pitchers, and today was no different.''
In the fourth inning, sophomore shortstop Brett Hileman grounded a clutch two-out single up the middle off Goodling, scoring Barr, who had singled, from third base, and Jordan Baum, who had walked, from second, for the 3-0 Tigers' lead.
"Brett has been seeing the ball real well all year,'' Miller said of Hileman. "He's a second-year starter as a sophomore, and he came through there like we know he can. He's a nice young player.''
Goodling fanned 10 Hollidaysburg batters - including eight in the first three innings - and allowed seven hits in five innings.
"After he went through our lineup for the first time, our kids made adjustments against him, and started hitting the ball,'' Miller said.
Mount Union (6-1) left 10 runners on base, including six in the first three innings.
"We had very little offense today,'' veteran Mount Union coach Nick Imperioli said. "[Barr] pitched well. We didn't seem to do much with him. But when we did get guys on base, we couldn't get the hits to bring them in.''
The exception was the top of the fifth inning, when doubles by Boozel and Brock Imperioli produced Mount Union's only run of the game. But Hollidaysburg answered that with a run in the bottom of the fifth, when Pope singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored when Damian Lascoli swung and missed Goodling's low pitch and the ball skipped toward the backstop.
"This was a good win, a big win for us,'' Miller said. "Our guys are always pumped to play Mount Union, and Mount Union always gets pumped to play us. It's always a battle.''
Game notes: Mount Union's starting catcher, Boomer Brown, left the field in the fifth inning when he was hit in the throat by a bouncing Goodling pitch. Medical personnel applied an ice pack to Brown's neck, and he was taken away in an ambulance as a precautionary measure after experiencing lightheadedness. ... Hollidaysburg hosts State College in a Central Penn League game today and welcomes DuBois in another league game Wednesday.
MOUNT UNION (1): Boozel 2b 412, Brown c 301, Heffner cr-cf 100, Imperioli ss 101, Goodling p-1b 401, McClain lf 400, Smith rf 300, Rogers 3b 301, Knable cf-c 000, Heidel dh 300, Grainey 1b-p 100. Totals - 27-1-6.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (4): Hileman ss 302, Scallen rf 410, Pope lf 413, Gallagher cf 000, Nichols dh 301, Lascoli c 200, Storm cr 000, Barr p 311, Ford 1b 300, Baum 2b 210, Burger 3b 200. Totals -26-4-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Mount Union000 010 0-1 6 1
Hollidaysburg001 210 X-4 7 1
E-Burger, Boozel. 2B-Boozel, Imperioli. RBI-Imperioli, Hileman 2, Nichols. CS -Rogers (Lascoli to Baum). LOB-Mount Union 10, Hollidaysburg 8.
MOUNT UNIONIP R ER H SO BB
Goodling (LP)5 4 4 7 10 1
Grainey1 0 0 0 0 2
HOLLIDAYSBURGIP R ER H SO BB
Barr (WP)7 1 1 6 10 3
WP-Goodlng. PB-Brown, Knable.
Records: Mount Union (7-1); Hollidaysburg (6-1).
Umpires: Larry Stitt (plate); Gene Decker (bases). Time of game: 2:05.