The last time John Snyder had a multi-home run game was when he was a senior in college, slamming three.
He could not have picked a better time to have another multi-homer game.
On Monday, Snyder hit two home runs for ProActive Sports in a 9-7 victory over Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Legion in game 1 of the best-of-five Altoona Greater City Baseball League championship series at Vets Field.
"I swung relatively well in the previous series against JnD Guns," Snyder said. "I was fortunate to get into some good hitter's counts, and I looked for pitches and I got them. I put the good part of the bat on the pitches and ran into them."
Like game 2 of the ProActive-JnD Guns semifinal series, in which ProActive jumped all over JnD with four first-inning runs, it set the tone from the get-go, scoring the runs Monday. In the top of the first inning, Lilly starting pitcher Zach Stere walked the leadoff batter, R.J. Barnard, and after he was able to get Jake Hargreaves to fly out, he allowed a long homer by Snyder to left-center.
ProActive scored again in the top half of the third inning, with catcher Vince Nedimyer, who had reached on a single, scoring when Barnard singled. After Snyder led off the fourth inning by walking and Mark Saxman followed with a single, Matt Hershey moved the runners with a sacrifice. Snyder then scored on a wild pitch, and later with two outs, Nedimyer hit a run-scoring single, plating Saxman.
In the top of the fifth, Barnard was walked by Stere. Snyder then hit his second two-run homer to make it 7-0.
ProActive starting pitcher Saxman allowed six hits in five-plus innings of work. He did not allow a run until the sixth, with just a pair of Lilly seven runs being charged to him.
"He was working on a shutout into the sixth inning," ProActive player/manager Tom Smith said. "He gave us a chance to win. Our pitchers have been doing that for us in the playoffs."
Lilly finally got on the board, scoring a pair, but ProActive answered with two runs in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Lilly made things interesting. ProActive relief pitcher Jay Baker walked the first two batters of the seventh, before retiring the next two batters.
That third out proved to be the toughest, though. Baker walked Ryan Ickes and gave up back-to-back singles by Matish and Gallaher to make it 9-4. The next two hitters, Brandon Ickes and Brent Davison, reached on errors. After Baker walked his fourth batter of the inning, he finally got Landon Sinclair to fly out to right.
"I was very pleased," Lilly player/manager Lucas McCoy said. "We were a hit away from winning."
"The bottom line is, it doesn't matter if it's 10-0 or 1-0," Smith said. "A win's a win. It's a five-game series, and you've got to win three."
Stere walked 10 batters and struck out just three in 4 innings of work.
"Stere was uncharacteristically wild tonight," Smith said. "We know if we face him again later in the series, he won't be like this again."
PROACTIVE SPORTS (9): Barnard 2b 131, Hargreaves 3b 501, Snyder cf 232, Saxman p/1b 412, Mat. Hershey rf 401, Stiffler 1b 400, Baker p 000, Nedimyer c 412, Clancy lf 300, Gority ss 110. Totals 28 9 9.
CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC/LILLY AMERICAN LEGION (7): Matish cf 411, Gallaher 1b 512, B. Ickes ss 500, Davison rf 501, McCoy 3b 210, Sinclair 2b 320, Porter c 413, Olsavsky dh/p 401, R. Ickes lf 211. Totals 34 7 9.
SCORE BY INNINGS
ProActive Sports201 220 2 - 9 9 2
Conrad/Lilly AL000 002 5 7 9 0
E-Hargreaves, Gority 2. 2B-Davison. HR-Snyder 2. SB-Barnard, B. Ickes. SF-Barnard, Mat. Hershey. RBI-Snyder 5, Barnard, Nedimyer, Saxman, Matish, Gallaher. WP-Saxman. LP-Stere. SO-Stere 3, Olsavsky 2, Saxman 4, Baker 1. BB-Stere 10, Olsavsky 2, Saxman 4, Baker 4.