It's been a long week, but the Hollidaysburg Area Golden Tigers looked ready to keep playing after having just finished their fifth baseball game in six days.
Time flies when you're having fun.
"We're good,'' Tiger sophomore Andy Crum said, smiling. "The team feels good about winning.''
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg catcher Reid Miller looks up to see an out call by home plate umpire Don McClure against Altoona’s Shea Stayer on Saturday afternoon at Vets Field.
Hollidaysburg completed the stretch 4-1, as Crum and Brett Hileman combined on a seven-hitter that gave the Tigers their second win over Altoona in four days and the championship of the 15th annual Ron Fiochetta Tournament, 4-2, on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Field.
The Tigers raised their record to 10-7 and also gave them a split of the four-game season series with the Mountain Lions after dropping the first two meetings.
"This means a lot. Beating Altoona means a lot,'' said Crum, who allowed one run over the first 4 innings and also accounted for Hollidaysburg's only RBI with a groundout. "It's good competition.''
"It's been a really productive week,'' Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said. "It comes back to the pitching. We had one bump in the road there when our pitching wasn't very good down at Mount Union. But, in the other four games, the pitching was outstanding, and we had timely hitting again.''
The Tigers have only allowed 18 runs in their last seven games. Half of those came in the 9-6 loss to Mount Union on Tuesday.
Hollidaysburg scored three runs in the bottom of the third on two hits, a fielder's choice, a balk, a hit batsman and an error off Altoona junior right-hander Alec Lytle and made it hold up. Lytle only gave up four hits and a walk, tossing a complete game.
"We had one bad inning. We didn't help our pitcher, and that's pretty much all it took,'' Altoona coach Tom Smith said after his team dropped its third game in its last four to fall to 9-4. "Our pitchers have kept us in just about every game this year. It's just the same old story of not putting quality at-bats together and generating offense.''
Crum, a left-hander, only faced five batters more than the minimum through four innings before Altoona's Dylan Oswalt doubled and J.D. Green singled with one out in the fifth, and Szynal decided to turn to Hileman to shut the door. Hileman wild pitched one run in and surrendered another in the sixth but retired the heart of the Lions' order one-two-three in the seventh to end it.
"It just wanted to throw strikes, hit my spots and let the fielders do the work. I felt pretty good,'' Crum said. "Everything with our staff is just coming together. We're working hard.''
Hollidaysburg's defense was flawless, making the routine plays and some tougher ones, like Thayne Russell's strike home to nail Shea Stayer following a high throw after a stolen base with one out in the second. Altoona threatened in the sixth, but shortstop Jordan Baum ranged to his left to handle Oswalt's chopper near second base and threw to first after touching the bag to complete the double play and end the inning.
"We made some nice plays,'' Szynal said. "Anytime you put a goose egg in the error column, it's to your benefit.''
The Lions had runners on the corners when Baum turned the double play, but Smith thought sending the runner from first was too risky since it represented the potential tying run with the top of the order up and the hard-throwing, experienced Hileman on the mound.
"Our guy just unfortunately hit it the worst possible place,'' Smith said. "Give them credit.''
Altoona turned in some fielding gems of its own, twice converting difficult linedrives into double plays. The Lions, though, also committed four errors.
Green and Hollidaysburg's Aaron Burger were the only players with more than one hit, each hitting two singles. Altoona belted three doubles but left eight runners on base.
In the consolation game, Bishop Guilfoyle combined eight hits with eight hit batsmen to beat West Branch, 10-5. Dylan Adams went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Marauders, who improved to 11-4, while winning pitcher Jextin Pugh had two hits. BG's Brandon Sweeney also drove in two runs.
ALTOONA (2): Oswalt cf 411, Green lf 402, Helsel ss 201, Lombardo dh 300, Lytle p 000, Conrad c 200, Berardinelli cr 000, Sinsi 2b 311, Stayer rf 301, Foose 3b 301, Baker 1b 200. Totals - 26-2-7.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (4): Claar cf 322, Burger 3b 110, Hileman ss-p 110, Crum p-lf 300, Storm 2b 300, Ford 1b 300, Miller c 301, Urban cr 000, Gallagher rf 200, Russell lf 201, Baum ss 000. Totals - 21-4-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Altoona000 011 0-2 7 4
Hollidaysburg003 010 X-4 4 0
E-Foose, Helsel 2, Sinisi. LOB-Altoona 8, Hollidaysburg 4. DP-Altoona 2, Hollidaysburg. 2B-Stayer, Oswalt, Foose. RBI-Crum, Foose. SAC-Gallagher, Burger. SB-Hileman, Stayer.
Altoona: Lytle (L)-7 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO.
Hollidaysburg: Crum (W)-4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO; Hileman (Sv)-2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO.
HBP-By Lytle 2 (Burger, Hileman). WP-Hileman, Lytle. PB-Conrad.
Records: Altoona (9-4); Hollidaysburg (10-7).
WEST BRANCH (5): Baugh ss 211, Gurbal 1b 200, Lidgett 3b 411, Wick rf 402, Thomas lf 400, Kerlin cf 300, Hayles 2b 210, McGuire p 000, Burnisky c 200, Rhinehart cr 010, Emigh p-2b 311. Totals - 26-5-5.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE CATHOLIC (10): Irwin 2b 400, Keller ss 020, Pugh p 402, Johnson 1b 221, Pleva c 100, Young cr 010, Litzinger ph 010, Gochnaur rf 000, Sweeney dh 411, Stewart 3b 211, Adams cf 413, Cursio lf 400. Totals - 25-10-8.
SCORE BY INNINGS
West Branch000 110 3- 5 5 2
Bishop Guilfoyle001 126 X-10 8 1
E-Wick, Thomas, Keller. LOB-West Branch 5, Bishop Guilfoyle 10. 2B-Johnson. RBI-Gurbal, Wick 2, Irwin, Johnson, Gochnaur, Sweeney 2, Adams 2, Cursio. SB-Baugh, Keller. WP-Pugh. LP-Emigh. SO-Pugh 9, Emigh 7. BB-Pugh 4, Emigh 6.
Records: West Branch (10-6); Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic (11-4).