The Altoona Greater City Baseball League championship series is going to a fifth game.
With arch rivals Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Legion and ProActive Sports playing against one another, would you expect anything less?
Lilly rode the arm of P.J. Holberg and the bat of Brent Davison to a 10-3 victory over ProActive Sports in game 4 of the best-of-five championship series Thursday evening at Vets Field.
"It all starts with P.J. Holberg," Lilly player/manager Lucas McCoy said. "He pitched a heck of a game. My hat's off to him. He threw strikes, and they weren't able to hit him much. He went the distance, so it saved us some arms."
The two starting pitchers, Tyler Neff and Holberg, both allowed a base runner in the first inning, but their defenses bailed them out by turning double plays. Neff got Cody Gallaher to line out to third baseman Jake Hargreaves, and he doubled up the base runner at first base. After allowing a one-out single to Hargreaves, Holberg induced a 5-4-3 double play to avoid any damage.
Lilly was able to get one run off of Neff in the top of the third. The following inning, Lilly scored another run, thanks to a run-scoring double by Brandon Ickes to plate his brother, Ryan. Ryan Ickes had started the inning with a single.
Holberg pitched his third scoreless inning of the ballgame, retiring ProActive Sports' leadoff hitter and second baseman, R.J. Barnard, for the third out.
After Neff tossed a scoreless top of the fourth inning, ProActive Sports was finally able to score a few runs off of Holberg. Hargreaves began the inning by drawing a walk, and John Snyder and Mark Saxman were both hit by pitches, loading the bases. The next hitter in the ProActive Sports lineup, Vince Nedimyer, drew an RBI walk.
Matt Hershey, the following hitter, reached on a fielder's choice, with Snyder scoring, and Saxman being thrown out attempting to run to third base. Two batters later, Jimmy Clancy reached on an RBI fielder's choice, allowing Nedimyer to score.
"Give their pitcher [Holberg] credit," ProActive Sports player/manager Tom Smith said. "He held us to only three runs and three hits. You're not going to win many games when you hit like that."
With a 3-2 deficit, Lilly answered immediately in the top of the fifth, putting up an eight-spot, sending 11 batters to the plate in the inning alone. The inning was highlighted by a two-run triple by Brent Matish and a two-run double by Ian Olsavsky. The first five runs were charged to Neff before Smith replaced him with Sean Gority.
"We had that one tough inning," Smith said. "It snowballed into an eight-run inning."
The finale of the five-game series will be played at 6:15 this evening at Vets Field. Neither manager is sure of who will be getting the nod on the mound, but one would assume that all hands will be on deck for both teams.
"Hopefully, we can carry this over to tomorrow," McCoy said. "It's a one-game series - now a clean slate for both teams."
Smith knows his team must find a way to generate more offense.
"We've got to come up with more offense [Friday]," Smith said. "We can't afford to get just three runs again tomorrow."
CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC/LILLY?AMERICAN LEGION (10): Matish cf 411, Gallaher 1b 422, B. Ickes ss 503, Davison rf 321, McCoy 3b 210, Sinclair 2b 411, Porter c 210, Olsavsky dh 411, Holberg p 000, B. Ickes lf 412. Totals 32 10 11.
PROACTIVE SPORTS (3): Barnard 2b 200, Hargreaves dh/3b 311, Neff p 000, Snyder cf 210, Saxman 1b 200, Nedimyer c 210, Matt Hershey rf 300, Stiffler 3b /lf 302, Clancy lf/p 200, Gority ss/p/ss 300. Totals 22 3 3.
SCORE BY INNING
Conrad/Lilly American Legion 011 080 0 10 11 1
ProActive Sports000 300 0 3 3 1
E-Clancy, Gallaher. DP-Lilly 2, ProActive Sports 1. 2B- Gallaher, B. Ickes 2, Olsavsky. 3B-Matish. HR-Davison. SB-Clancy, R. Ickes 2. RBI-Nedimyer, Matt Hershey, Clancy, Matish 2, Gallaher, B. Ickes, Davison, Sinclair, Olsavsky 2. HBP-Snyder by Holberg, Saxman by Holberg, Barnard by Holberg, McCoy by Neff 2, B. Ickes by Clancy. WP-Holberg. LP-Neff. SO-Holberg 2, Neff 1, Clancy 1. BB-Holberg 4, Neff 4, Clancy 2.