ALEXANDRIA - It was high drama in a District 6-A quarterfinal game between Conemaugh Valley and Juniata Valley in Alexandria Monday. As if a close game wasn't enough, Konner Barton completed a no-hitter and the Green Hornets topped the Blue Jays, 3-0.
"I was a little nervous at first. It feels really good," Barton said. "I didn't know it until the game was over. That was better. Not as much pressure on me."
Barton (6-1) displayed a lot of poise after walking the first batter of the game. He pulled himself together and went on to throw a no-hitter with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
"That was the first no-hitter in my 18 years," Juniata Valley coach Bill Peters said. "This was a great defensive game. We had some very good bunting and clutch hitting that produced the runs for us."
In any no-hitter there's always some good plays in the field that helped keep it intact. Shortstop Bryce Hensor, first baseman Nate Leydig and third baseman Zach Beam all helped out in not allowing any hits.
The Hornets (13-6) did enough hitting against Blake Furman to put a few runs on the board. Hensor went two for two with a triple and an RBI. Furman took the complete-game loss, giving up seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
Barton had some control issues in the top of the first, walking Cody Gill to start the game. He was helped out though when Sam Singer threw Gill out trying to steal second base and ended the frame with a strikeout.
Hensor lined a one-out triple to right field in the bottom of the first, but a pair of strikeouts by Furman stranded him there.
The Hornets put one run up in the bottom of the second. Caleb Taylor led off with a single, and Singer moved him to second with a bunt. After Beam flew out to right, Sam Gildea singled up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
In the third, Conemaugh Valley (10-7) picked Kordell Collins off second base, and then in the fourth turned a double play to end the inning.
Barton retired 13 in a row until issuing a two-out walk to Drake Markiewicz. He stole second base, and Hunter Bizjah hit a shot down the first-base line that Leydig snagged to end the inning and save a run.
The Hornets scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth after two outs. Zack Faubert singled and was safe at second on a grounder to short off the bat of Collins when the ball was mishandled going for the force out. Hensor plated Faubert with a base hit to right and then a balk sent Collins home to make the score 3-0.
The top of the seventh started with Gildea making the play and tossing the ball to Barton covering first base. A strikeout and grounder to Collins at second ended the game and gave Barton a no-hitter.
The Blue Jays had been to the district semifinals the last two years and beat the Hornets 3-0 last season in the quarterfinals.
"He [Barton] pitched an outstanding game and had great defense behind him," Blue Jays manager Robert Beiter said. "We're about a .346 hitting team but he just kept us off balance and we were just behind him."
Williamsburg knocked off top-seeded Portage, 6-2, and will play at Juniata Valley Thursday in the semis.
CONEMAUGH VALLEY (0): Gill 1b 200; McMonagle 2b 300; Verno cf 300; Kalinyak dh 300; S. Vibostok lf 0-0-0; B. Furman p 200; Markiewicz 3b 100; Bizjak ss 200; D. Furman rf 100; Kitner ph 100; V. Vibostok c 200. Totals: 20-0-0.
JUNIATA VALLEY (3): Collins 2b 311; Hensor ss 202; Barton p 301; Claar rf 100; Taylor cf 311; Singer c 200; Beam 3b 200; Gildea dh 201; Leydig 1b 000; Faubert lf 211. Totals: 20-3-7.
Score by Innings
Conemaugh Valley000 000 0 - 0 0 1
Juniata Valley010 020 X - 3 7 0
Errors: Bizjak. 3B: Hensor.
IP: B. Furman 6.0 (L), 0 H, 4K, 1 BB; Barton 7.0 (W), 0 H, 11K, 2 BB.