The old saying in baseball is pitching wins championships. On Saturday morning, Martin Oil got plenty of it.
Led by the trio of starter Tristan Lingafelt, along with Dan Beech and Chad Luensmann, the Bellwood based entry captured the NABF Tournament championship over Baltimore Diamond Pros, 3-2, at Mansion Park.
The win sends Martin Oil off to the national tournament in Ohio, along with Kelley Federation League runner-up Dick's Pharmacy. Martin Oil will go as the regional champion and Dick's as the host entry of the regional.
"Tristan's been outstanding for us all year we knew we could give him the ball and he'd come through for us, Martin Oil coach Ron Mock said of his starting pitcher.
"Dan Beech has been our closer all season, he was honest with us, he struggled, and so we made the switch with Luensmann [in the seventh]."
Baltimore opened the scoring in the bottom of the third as Conner Reynolds reached on an error by Beech. Ron Farley drove in the run for a 1-0 lead.
Martin Oil responded immediately as Haden DeGennaro reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Travis Baker to tie the game at one.
The game was at a standstill until the top of the sixth inning when Trent Martin, with one out, smacked an RBI double on a fly ball to right, scoring Beech to put Martin Oil ahead for good at 2-1.
From there, the pitching was able to take over as Lingafelt went 6 1/3 innings giving up two earned runs and striking out three.
"I just tried to throw as many strikes as I could," he said of his success. "[I] just let them hit the ball when they hit it and let the fielders make plays."
Martin Oil had to sweat out the final inning.
Diamond Pros led off the inning with a single by shortstop Sam Stark. He scored on a walk to cut the lead to one.
The game's final out didn't come without controversy.
With the bases loaded, Farley appeared to have reached on a single to score the game's tying run. But moments later on appeal by Martin Oil, the umpires changed the call to an out because of base runner interference on Reynolds' advance from second to third base which drew the anger of Baltimore's players and fans.
Mock says that he has never experienced a game ending the way yesterday's game did.
"I've never seen that," he said. "I told the kids they make these games interesting every game for me, and that was the most interesting there."
The two local teams will now head to Struthers, Ohio for the NABF World Series.
"This is exciting for these kids," Mock said. I just love it for these kids. They have a lot of fun and hopefully we can go up there and represent Altoona well."
MARTIN OIL (3): DeGennaro cf 321, Rabits lf 400, Baker 1b 201, Beech rf-p-rf 212, Creppage c 400, Lingafelt p-ss 200, Martin ss-rf-3b, Snyder 2b 300, Hunter 3b 201, Kline pr 000, Luensmann 2b-p 100. Totals: 27-3-7.
BALTIMORE DIAMOND PROS (2): Reynolds rf-2b 110, Tipton 3b 301, Foxwell p 000, Farley rf 201, Rabat c 300, Kershner 1b 300, Stark ss 312, Reitz pr 000, Gimblet 300, Doan lf 200, Caporlette dh 200, Huffman cf-p 100, Boyd p 000. Totals: 23-2-4.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Martin Oil0001011 3 7 1
Baltimore Diamond Pros0010001 2 4 1
E Beech; Gimblet. 2B Martin, Hunter. RBI Baker, Beech, Martin; Foxwell, Farley.
Baltimore Diamond Pros
Umpires - Steve Shuniak (Home); Gene Decker (First); Mike Morgan (Third)