Thanks to solid pitching by J Johnson and clutch hitting by Justin Wolfe, Dick's Pharmacy is still alive in the George B. Kelley Amateur Baseball Federation's championship playoff series.
Johnson pitched six strong innings and Wolfe drove in four runs with three hits as Dick's upended Martin Oil, 6-2, Saturday evening at Veterans' Memorial Field.
Martin Oil leads the best-of-five series, 2-1, with Game 4 slated for today at 5 p.m. at Vets Field.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Dick’s Pharmacy’s J Johnson pitches on Saturday.
"We're hanging in there," Dick's manager Pat Yon said after Saturday's win. "I thought for awhile we were the Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers last year and the couple years before, but maybe we're going to turn into the Bucs this year."
Yon was referring to the fact that Dick's hasn't had much success against Martin Oil in recent seasons.
Wolfe was Dick's offensive catalyst yesterday, doubling home Ethan Adams in the first inning and then plating Adams and Dylan Oswalt with a two-run single in the third.
Chris Sinisi was hit by pitch, stole second and scored on an error to give Dick's a 4-0 lead in the fourth. Sinisi was hit by pitch again in the sixth and scored on Adams' double. Wolfe's single chased Adams home to make it 6-0.
"Some nice hits. Some nice hits," Yon said of Wolfe's at-bats. "When he's ready, it will happen, and today was his day."
Johnson gave up only one hit in five innings but appeared to tire in the bottom of the sixth when Martin scored twice on a walk to Zack Mock and back-to-back doubles by Danny Beech and Trenton Creppage.
"He's tremendous," Yon said of Johnson. "He didn't have enough rest prior to this game so it didn't work where we could get him in [pitching] before tonight.
"The kid's spectacular," Yon said. "He was pitcher-of-the-year last year and showed tonight he could be again this year."
Johnson, originally from Houston, moved from Texas to Altoona last summer. He's played in the Kelley Federation two seasons and graduated from Altoona High recently.
"I just went out and played my game," the side-arming right-hander said. "I was throwing strikes and was playing with them with a slide ball.
"It worked out for me because we kept coming back and hitting the ball."
Johnson is coming off a shoulder injury and admitted he tired late in the game.
"Martin is a good team but this gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow's game," Johnson added.
Wolfe pitched the last inning for Dick's and struck out two batters to preserve the win.
"We came to play today," Wolfe said. "Our defense was better, and I was seeing pretty much everything [at bat].
"I wasn't expecting to pitch, but my arm was ready."
The math is simple: Dick's needs to win two more for the title while Martin's needs one victory for the crown. Regardless of the outcome, both will play in the NABF Altoona Regional next week.
"It's still a series," Martin manager Ron Mock said. "I thought we'd finish it off tonight, but I guess we'll have to go again tomorrow [Sunday].
"Their pitcher threw strikes," Mock said. "We hit the ball but hit it to somebody. We just couldn't find the holes today. We also had four errors and you can't win with that many errors."
DICK'S PHARMACY (6): Sinisi ss 320, Adams lf 332, Oswalt cf 412, Wolfe 3b-p 403, Eckenrode 1b-3b 201, J. DeGennaro 2b 400, Johnson p 000, Knott dh-1b 400, N. Lytle c 200, Futrell cr 000, B. Lytle rf 300. Totals - 29-6-8.
MARTIN OIL (2): H. DeGennaro cf 400, Mock lf-p 310, Lingafelt ss 401, Beech rf 311, Creppage c 301, Stewart 1b-3b 100, Hunter 3b 100, Soellner 2b 200, Zitterbart 3b-p 200, Stapleton p 100, Kline lf 200. Totals - 26-2-3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Dick's Pharmacy102 102 0-6 8 2
Martin Oil000 002 0-2 3 4
E-J. DeGennaro, Knott, Creppage, Soellner, Zitterbart, Stapleton. 2B-Adams, Oswalt, Wolfe, Beech, Creppage. RBI-Wolfe 4, Adams, Beech, Creppage. SB - Sinisi, Adams, Oswalt, Mock.
DICK'S IP R ER H SO BB
Johnson (W) 6 2 2 3 3 1
Wolfe 1 0 0 0 2 1
MARTIN OIL IP R ER H SO BB
Stapleton (L) 4.2 4 3 6 1 4
Zitterbart 2.1 2 2 2 3 2
WP - Stapleton, Zitterbart 2. PB - Creppage. HPB - Stewart, Soellner (by Johnson); Sinisi 2 (by Stapleton and Zitterbart).
Umpires - Jeff Burkett (HP), Brett Shover (1b), Gene Decker (3b).