After beginning the season by winning eight of its first nine games, the Altoona Mountain Lions dropped consecutive games to Punxsutawney and Hollidaysburg.
But the Mountain Lions got back on the winning track by routing the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic Marauders, 16-3 in five innings, in the opening round of the Ron Fiochetta High School Baseball Tournament Friday night at Vets Field.
Bishop Guilfoyle got on the scoreboard first when Jextin Pugh reached base on a two-out infield single, and advanced to second via a wild pitch and stole third. Altoona catcher Anthony Lombardo launched the throw into left field and Pugh scored as result.
In the early going, Marauder pitcher Matt Stewart outpitched Altoona's starter Ben Wyland, throwing goose eggs on the board through the first two innings. But Wyland got stronger as the game went on and did not allow another run until the bottom half of the fifth inning, while Stewart tired in the third inning because he pitched Thursday night against Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section 1 foe Forest Hills.
"Yesterday's game is more important," Bishop Guilfoyle manager Bill Wolf said. "But you still want to come in and play well."
Jake Chesney led off the third with a single, and Chris Sinisi drove him home with a double. Two batters later, Colby Fink plated Sinisi with a single, and Fink later scored on a wild pitch. Smith's club scored three more runs in the fourth inning, with the first four batters reaching base before Stewart could record an out.
Stewart was replaced by Morgan Litzinger after 3 1/3 innings. Litzinger was not that effective either, and after allowing the first three batters he faced in the fifth inning to reach base - one via single and two on walks - he was replaced by Donny Gochnaur. Gochnaur allowed all three inherited baserunners to score. The Mountain Lions batted around that inning, and scored 10 runs.
"They had us down in the third until their pitching ran out," Altoona manager Tom Smith said. "We took advantage of it."
Wyland pitched all five innings to earn the win for the Mountain Lions. He struck out five and did not walk a batter, although he did hit one.
"Ben's been solid for us all year," Smith said. "He had another solid outing for us tonight."
The Mountain Lions got big games from both Sinisi and Fink, who combined to go four-for-six, drive in four and score four runs. Smith was thrilled about the production Fink gave him in the leadoff spot.
"Colby did well tonight," Smith said. "He did a really nice job in the leadoff spot."
The Marauders fell to 10-4 on the season.
Altoona improved to 9-3.
ALTOONA (16): Fink 1b 322, Oswalt cf 300, Negri ph-cf 010, Helsel ss 311, Berardinelli ph-ss 111, Lombardo c 221, Conrad ph 000, Wyland p 220, Green lf 211, Arnold ph/lf 111, Chesney dh 121, Foose 3b 000, Sinisi 2b 322, Stayer lf 010. Totals - 21 16 10.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (3): Irwin 2b 300, Keller ss 302, Pugh 1b 312, Johnson 3b 300, Pleva c 100, Krol cf 200, Stewart p/2b 000, Litzinger p 000, Gochnaur p 000, Sweeney dh 201, Adams rf 211, Cursio lf 211. Totals - 21 3 7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Altoona0033(10)xx - 16 10 2
Bishop Guilfoyle10002xx - 3 7 2
E - Lombardo 2, Keller, Krol. SB - Pugh. 2b - Sinisi, Keller, Cursio. RBIs - Cursio, Keller, Fink 2, Helsel, Lombardo, Wyland, Green, Chesney, Sinisi 2, Stayer. WP - Wyland. LP - Stewart. SOs - Wyland 5. BBs - Stewart 1, Litzinger 2, Gochnaur 4.
Records: Altoona (9-3); Bishop Guilfoyle (10-4).
Chris Storm drove in four runs, while Andy Crum and Ian Ford added two RBIs apiece as Hollidaysburg blanked West Branch, 10-0, in five innings in the Ron Fiochetta Tournament at Vets Field.
Hollidaysburg and Altoona will now meet up for the title tonight.
WEST BRANCH (0): Baugh ss-p 210, Wick dh 200, McGonigal 3b 000, Lidgett cf 210, Speigle p-ss 200, Gurbal 1b 210, Kerlin rf 200, Hubler lf 200, Burnisky c 200, Emigh 2b 100. Totals - 17-0-3.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (10): Claar cf 412, Burger 3b 411, Hileman ss 322, Corey p 000, Crum dh 423, Storm 2b 322, Ford 1b 212, Gallagher rf 201, Russell lf 300, Yohn c 301, Urban cr 010. Totals -28-10-14.
SCORE BY INNINGS
West Branch000 00X X- 0 3 3
Hollidaysburg501 31X X-10 14 0
E-Baugh, Lidgett, Hubler. RBI-Crum 2, Storm 4, Ford 2, Russell. WP-Corey. LP-Sdiegle. SO-Sdiegle 3, Baugh 4, Corey 5. BB-Sdiegle.
Records: Hollidaysburg (9-7)