JOHNSTOWN - Johnston Realty entered the All-American Amateur Baseball Association's national tournament with what Jake Weibley called "a week's worth of solid pitchers."
Unfortunately for the Altoona entry, a staff built for the entire week lasted two days.
Johnstown entry Martella's Pharmacy ripped through six different Johnston Realty pitchers while posting a 13-3 victory that eliminated Altoona Tuesday at Point Stadium.
"Oh my God, yeah I thought we had a great chance," Weibley said. "With the pitching we had, so many pitchers that we could go so deep with, it was unreal. Unfortunately, [Martella's] came ready to hit and we had to start using different pitchers and they just kept hitting and hitting."
When the dust from Martella's runners crossing home plate finally settled, the Johnstown entry had compiled 17 hits, drawn seven walks, been hit by three pitches and forced Altoona hurlers to throw 176 pitches. To make matters worse, Johnston Realty also committed five errors.
"I thought we were ready, I honestly did," Johnston Realty manager Mel Curtis said. "We looked very good in batting practice, and they wanted this game in the worst way. They got up on us, and basically what happened was the heads started to drop down."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Johnston Realty catcher Kyle Morrow is pulled off of home plate on an attemped forceout of Martella’s Dillon Boyer.
Johnston Realty starter Garrett Peterson worked out of a jam with runners on second and third in the first inning but couldn't escape a similar situation in the second. With two outs and a runner on first, Sam Barbera doubled. A batter later, Johnston Realty shortstop Mike Marcinko made a diving stop on a Dillon Boyer grounder but had no play at first and Martella's jumped ahead, 1-0.
Altoona tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a Cody Doran single. Johnston Realty had four of its nine hits in the game come in the second inning but managed just one run when Martella's starter Nick Cubarney induced a bases-loaded groundout by Marcinko.
"That's really hard to deal with," Curtis said. "To come away with just one there swung the momentum."
If the game hadn't completely turned in Martella's favor yet, it did when Jesse Cooper stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning.
Peterson was on the verge of escaping another jam with two outs and two runners in scoring position when Cooper slapped a single up the middle to put Martella's ahead, 3-1. The ball slipped under Weibley's glove and allowed Cooper to go to third, and he scored one batter later on Pat Gully's single.
Cooper, who finished the game 4-for-5 with four RBIs, played for Bishop McCort in high school and won a state championship in 2012.
"The story of Jesse's baseball career is that he's a winner and a clutch kid," Martella's Pharmacy manager Chris Pfeil said. "Today that was definitely the ball that got through and got us going."
Nathan Pope relieved Peterson in the fifth inning and immediately ran into trouble, walking the first batter he faced before Luke Williams tripled. Cooper drove Williams in with a groundout, and Martella's took a 6-1 lead.
A team meeting did little to rally the Altoona entry. Brandon Myers managed a towering double that bounced over the fence in centerfield but was stranded at second when Cubarney struck out Kyle Morrow.
Martella's put the game away a half inning later. The Johnstown entry, which managed just one run in an opening-round loss to Baltimore Monday, batted around and scored five runs (two more off Pope and three off reliever Justin Taylor).
"You have to give credit to them," Weibley said. "They came in and really hit the ball. They were just more ready to play than we were.
"I felt very confident coming into this thing, especially today. I thought we were going to come in here today and this would be a win for us."
Trailing 12-1, Altoona faced the possibility of a mercy-rule ending in the bottom of the seventh inning but loaded the bases with no outs. A wild pitch with one out brought in one run and Morrow extended the game with a sacrifice fly to make it 12-3.
Mike Finlan tossed Johnston Realty's only 1-2-3 inning of the game in the eighth, but Martella's tacked on another run off Mark Curtis in the ninth and Altoona had just one hit in three innings off Bedford native Schnably.
Johnston Realty could be facing a major overhaul next season depending on which date is selected as the new age limit for next year.
"It's going to be tough to rebuild and bring this back to the talent level that we had this year," Curtis said. "We have to go back to scratch and start all over. I'm not 100 percent sure of who we'll lose yet, because I have to check the new requirements. It could be that we could have 70 percent of these kids back. We'll have to see."
MARTELLA'S PHARMACY (13): Boyer rf 412, Leech rf 100, Brooks 2b 512, Jones ss 411, Cubarney p 000, Schnably p 000, Fanelli dh-c 420, Stenger 3b 220, Giannini 3b 221, Williams 1b 522, Cooper lf 514, Gully c 412, Mulvey ph 000, Barbera cf 603. Totals 42-13-17
JOHNSTON REALTY (3): Marcinko ss 300, Myers rf 501, Morrow c 300, Peterson p 000, Zimmerman 3b 100, Pope p 000, Zurat p 100, Finlan p 000, Curtis p 000, Pennington dh 100, Pugh 1b 312, Costa 1b 100, Taylor 3b-p-3b 402, Faretta 2b 301, Scholly 2b 100, Doran lf 411, Weibley cf 312. Totals 33-3-9
SCORE BY INNINGS
Martella's Pharmacy013 025 101 13 17 1
Johnston Realty010 000 200 3 9 5
E-Jones, Marcinko, Weibley, Faretta, Zimmerman, Zurat. 2B-Barbera, Boyer, Myers. 3B-Williams. RBI-Cooper 4, Barbera 3, Williams 2, Boyer, Gully, Morrow, Doran.
Cubarney (W) 6 IP+, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 85 pitches
Schnably (S) 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 33 pitches
Peterson (L) 4 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 62 pitches
Pope 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 26 pitches
Taylor 2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 K, 2 BB, 25 pitches
Zurat 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 32 pitches
Finlan 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB, 11 pitches
Curtis 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 K, 1 BB, 20 pitches
Records: Johnston Realty (0-2); Martella's Pharmacy (1-1)