LILLY - Almost exactly one year ago, Joe Faretta led a team that was only in the All American Amateur Baseball Association national tournament because another team dropped out to an opening-day upset win.
Monday at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Park, Faretta was on the other side of the coin as Altoona's lone entry, Nittany Oil/Minit Mart, fell to Columbus, 7-3.
"We are very short roster-wise," Columbus manager Tony Perz said. "We hopefully have two more showing up later today, but we basically got the bid [to play in the tournament] late. One of the teams that was playing here couldn't make it.
"It was tough on us getting a team together on short notice."
In last year's tournament, Faretta put together his Logan Beverage team that topped Livonia just seven hours before the game began.
This year, Faretta and his squad came in prepared, having won the Altoona AAABA league and the Altoona regional just last week.
It didn't matter.
Nittany Oil made seven errors that led to seven unearned runs. The miscues erased a 1-0 Altoona lead and left Faretta's squad facing a 7-1 deficit after four innings.
"Our pitchers played contact to the defense," Nittany Oil catcher Ryan Hill said. "We just had a couple errors, and we're usually lights-out on defense.
"Errors killed us. That wasn't us that whole game. We're usually a nice, clean slate defensively. Just turns out we had this one game with a ton of errors."
The defensive lapses couldn't have come at a worse time for Nittany Oil, which declared before Monday's game that its goal was to win the double-elimination tournament.
"Obviously we didn't play our normal game today," Faretta said. "Errors hurt us. You can't make [seven] errors and win any games.
"Today wasn't our day, but we'll come back. You never know about this team."
The Altoona entry will send Braedon Pennington to the mound today at 7 p.m. in an elimination game against Johnstown's Berkley Hills Renegades at Point Stadium. The Renegades lost to Philadelphia, 4-3, at the Point on Monday night.
Nittany Oil outhit its opponent Monday, 13-6, but failed with runners in scoring position several times thanks to the defense of Columbus center fielder Taylor Snare.
With one run already in and runners on second and third, Nittany's Mike Marcinko hit a line drive deep to center that Snare tracked down in the second inning.
After Columbus scored three runs in the third on just two hits, Snare tracked down another Marcinko liner with two on in the top of the fourth.
In all, Snare made six catches on line drives, including a diving one with two runners on for the final out of the game.
"I've never had this much room to operate in center," Snare said regarding the lack of a fence in the middle of War Memorial Park. "I didn't have to worry about running into a fence or anything, and that made it a lot easier."
Austin Mock went 3-for-5 for Nittany Oil, and Pennington, Hill and Brandon Myers each had two hits.
Altoona starting pitcher Kyle Schneider, who had gone 7-0 for Nittany Oil prior to Monday's game, got the first two outs of the bottom of the fourth inning before a Mock error allowed Ben Williams to reach base.
Columbus proceeded to come up with three consecutive hits, despite only having six in the entire game, to take a 5-1 lead.
With runners on first and third, Faretta turned to his bullpen and left-handed pitcher Mike Finlan. Finlan picked Chris Mitko off first base before even throwing a pitch, but Justin Taylor's throw to second went into the outfield allowing a run to score.
Another errant throw to third trying to get Mitko gave Columbus its seventh run.
"That's the funny thing about baseball," Faretta said. "Some days it goes your way, and others it doesn't. Today wasn't our day, but tomorrow is another day."
NITTANY OIL (3): Marcinko ss 501, Weibley lf 311, Walker lf 200, Pennington dh 312, Mock 3b 503, Taylor 1b 411, Peterson 1b 100, Myers rf 402, Doran cf 501, Hill c 302, Walters c 100, Faretta 2b 200, Henderson 2b 000, Schneider p 000, Finlan p 000. Totals 39-3-13
COLUMBUS (7): Vollenweider ss 500, Snare cf 510, Dickerson 1b 410, Cooper 1b 101, Williams 3b 520, Gronski c 412, Wyer 2b 311, Mitko rf 412, Perkins lf 200, Burch dh 300, Hock p 000. Totals 36-7-6
SCORE BY INNINGS
Nittany Oil 010 010 100 3 13 7
Columbus 003 400 00X 7 6 0
E-Marcinko 2, Mock 2, Taylor, Weibley, Henderson. 2B-Myers, Pennington, Mock, Gronski. RBI-Mock, Myers, Doran, Gronski 3, Dickerson, Wyer. WP-Hock. LP-Schneider. SO-Hock 6, Schneider 4, Finlan 3. BB-Hock 4, Schneider 2. Pitches-Hock 141, Schneider 92, Finlan 45.
Records: Nittany Oil (0-1); Columbus (1-0)