The two best teams in the Altoona Greater City Baseball League for the last decade-plus squared off at Vets Field Friday night.
ProActive Sports and Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Legion staged an epic battle of will, one that no one in attendance will ever forget.
Lilly was victorious over ProActive Sports, 6-5, in 10 innings in the final game of the best-of-five championship series.
"It was like two heavyweights going at it," Lilly player/manager Lucas McCoy said. "We're very fortunate to come out on top. This feels great, but I feel even better for those guys [his teammates]."
This is Lilly's 10th championship in the last 11 seasons. McCoy credits others for the team's unprecedented run of success.
"I can't take credit for that," McCoy said. "The guys that have been here for all 10 of them deserve the credit. We've been fortunate to keep bringing in high quality guys to be able to continue this reign."
With the score tied at 5-5, beginning the home-half of the 10th inning, ProActive Sports shortstop, Sean Gority, committed an error that allowed Ryan Ickes to reach base. Brent Matish would then sacrifice bunt Ickes to second base, but ProActive Sports pitcher, Andy Lytle, fanned Cody Gallaher. Tom Smith, ProActive Sports player/manager, decided to intentionally walk Brandon Ickes, setting up a force play. Vince Nedimyer allowed a passed ball, letting both Ickes brothers to move up 90 feet. Brent Davison, Lilly's cleanup hitter, would hit an RBI single that scored Ryan Ickes with the with the game-wining run.
Davison commented on his coming up so clutch in extras.
"My last two at-bats, I had chances to win it," Davison said. "I was on his pitches and kept fouling off pitch after pitch. He tried to bust me in, but he missed inner half. Thankfully, the ball found a gap."
ProActive Sports got a run an inning for the first four innings, but were not able to put up any crooked numbers in any of them. Lilly, on the other hand, was able to score a run in the second inning, but put up a two-spot in both the third and fourth innings. Two RBI singles by McCoy and Brock Porter highlighted Lilly's second inning.
With Lilly leading 5-4 in the top of the sixth inning, Matt Hershey began the inning by hitting his second double of the game to lead things off for ProActive Sports. Jimmy Clancy would sacrifice bunt Hershey to third. Gority was then able to plate Hershey with his sacrifice fly.
Even the totals for hits for both teams was so close, with Lilly totalling 12 and ProActive Sports tallied 11 of them. Hershey led ProActive Sports with four hits, including two doubles, with Porter pacing Lilly with a 3-for-4 performance.
Once again, Smith and his team came up short against Lilly in a championship series.
"We've been here so many years, so it's a tough pill to swallow," Smith said. "I'm so disappointed for our fans and players. They got one more clutch hit than we did."
PROACTIVE SPORTS (5) Barnard 2b 422, Hargreaves dh 301, Clouse p 000, Lytle p 000, Snyder cf 502, Saxman 1b 501, Nedimyer c 411, Stifffler 3b 400, Matt Hershey rf 424, Clancy lf 300, Gority ss 200. Totals 35 5 11.
CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC/LILLY AMERICAN LEGION (6): Matish 2b/p 401, Gallaher 1b 601, B. Ickes ss 421, Davison rf 412, McCoy 3b 402, Sinclair 2b/p 411, Porter c 403, Olsavsky dh 400, R. Ickes lf 421. Totals 38 6 12.
SCORE BY INNING
ProActive Sports1111010000 5 11 2
Lilly Conrad Chiropractic/American Legion 0122000001 6 12 2
E Aungst 2, Stiffler, Gority. 2b Nedimyer, Matt Hershey 2, Sinclair, Saxman, Sac bunt Stiffler, Hargreaves, Barnard, Clancy, R. Ickes, Matish 2, Sinclair. Sb Barnard, . Sf- Gority. Olsavsky. RBI Snyder, Matt Hershey, Saxman, Gority, Olsavsky, McCoy, Porter, Davison. Hbp Matt Hershey by Stere, McCoy by Lytle. WP Matish. LP Lytle. SO Sinclair 1, Matish 1, Clouse 2, Lytle 4. BB Stere 1, Aungst 1, Sinclair 1, Clouse 2, Lytle 3.