LILLY - Somebody in the press box at the Lilly-Washington Memorial Field remarked that Monday's bright sunshine and warm temperatures was a perfect fit for an All-American Amateur Baseball Association tournament game.
And Monday's game was a perfect fit for the tournament's 10-run mercy rule.
Altoona's Wise Trailer Sales team broke out to a 26-0 lead after four innings and drubbed Chicago South Shore's Satchell Paige All-Stars, 26-4 in a game that was mercifully stopped by the 10-run rule after seven innings.
Altoona cracked 13 hits and benefited from 16 walks to break open Monday's game early and advance to tonight's 7 p.m. second-round winner's bracket game against Martella's Pharmacy of Johnstown at Point Stadium.
Altoona scored four runs on five hits in the first inning, then piled up 11 runs on just three hits in the second inning, when the winning squad also drew five walks.
"I thought we came out focused,'' Altoona manager Rick Westover said. "We had a good day of practice (Sunday), and a really good week of practice leading up to (Sunday). Our kids had some really good at-bats, and when we got pitches to hit, we hit them.''
After Altoona Area High School product Christian Helsel's RBI single opened the game's scoring, Central High School grad Isaac Stern, who is now at Shippensburg University, hit the first of his two-run triples, scoring both Jextin Pugh, who had reached on a fielder's choice, and Jake Stern, who had singled.
Catcher Cy Treaster's single up the middle plated Isaac Stern, concluding the first-inning rally.
In the second inning, Altoona chased Chicago South starting pitcher Neil Blum from the game, and wound up scoring a total of 11 runs against Blum and reliever Samson Funmaker.
Blum walked five batters in the inning and Funmaker three. Blum wild-pitched in one run and walked in another, while Funmaker walked in two runs and Isaac Stern belted his second two-run triple of the game.
Blum, who lasted just 1 innings, walked eight batters, and Funmaker also walked eight.
"We knew we were playing a team from Chicago, and we knew that we had to play well,'' said Christian Helsel, who is now at Penn State. "We came in pretty fired up, and it felt good to put up a bunch of runs.''
Altoona had the distinction of batting around in the first, second, and third innings. Altoona sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning, 15 to the plate in the second inning, and 11 more to the plate in the third inning, when the winners scored six runs on only one hit.
Jordan Faretta's two-run single was the only hit of the third inning for Altoona, which also drew three walks in the inning and parlayed two Chicago errors into three runs.
Altoona added four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to stretch its lead to 26-0. Helsel, who drove in five runs in the game, stroked a two-run double.
Cody Heane pitched four shutout innings for Altoona before leaving the game in the fifth, when Chicago South put up three runs on four hits, with Will Thomas' double producing two runs.
"Our guys kept pushing and trying, but we just got off to a bad start today,'' Chicago South Shore manager Mario Ollarvia said.
Altoona rode its good start into today's second round.
"You always want to get that first one under your belt, and you want to keep getting better as the tournament goes on,'' Westover said.
Game notes: Five players - Faretta, Helsel, Pugh, and Jake and Isaac Stern - had two hits apiece for Altoona. Faretta - who drove in three runs, scored four times, as did Pugh ... Chicago South Shore drops into the loser's bracket today and must win to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament ... Johnstown Tribune-Democrat sports writer Cory Isenberg did an outstanding job of singing the National Anthem prior to the start of Monday's game.
CHICAGO SOUTH SHORE (4): Gaston rf 301, Meyer ph 100, Morris 1b 401, Jones lf-cf 401, Rodriquez ph-lf 100, Sankitts 3b-c 300, Warner 2b 312, O'Neal c 100, Delatorre ph-3b 111, Bracey ss 311, Mitchell dh 301, Thomas cf 211, Blum p 000, Funmaker p 000. Totals - 29-4-9.
ALTOONA (26): Runk cf 130, Swope ph-cf 111, Faretta 3b 442, C. Helsel 1b 332, Pugh dh-p 442, J. Stern 2b 432, Storm 2b 210, I. Stern rf 312, Polites ph-rf 210, Treaster c 211, Laurito ph-c 201, Stover ss 320, Heane p 000, Wyland p 000, Z. Helsel p 000, Herncane dh 220. Totals - 33-26-13.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Chicago South Shore0 0 0 031 0- 4 9 4
Altoona4(11)6 500 X-26 13 0
E-Sankitts 2, Jones, Bracey. 2B-Thomas, C. Helsel. 3B-I. Stern 2. RBI-C. Helsel 5, I. Stern 4, Faretta 3, Pugh 2, J. Stern, Laurito, Treaster, Stover, Runk. SF -C. Helsel. SB -Gaston, Warner. HBP -Sankitts by Heane; Polites by Funmaker; Stover by Funmaker; Treaster by Funmaker. LOB - Chicago 5, Altoona 9.
CHICAGO SOUTH SHORE: Blum (L) 1IP, 7H, 11R, 10ER, 8BB, 0 SO; Funmaker 4IP, 6H, 15R, 6ER, 8BB, 1 SO.
ALTOONA: Heane 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 3SO; Wyland (W) 1IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 0BB, 0S0; Z. Helsel 1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 2SO; Pugh 1 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2SO, 1BB.
WP-Blum, Funmaker 2.
Umpires: Mike Bryja (plate); Fred Offman (first base); Don Moss (second base); Steve Shuniak (third base).