Lions roll by Tigers to win championship

This definitely does not have the looks of a five-win, sub- .500 team.

The Altoona Area High School baseball team, coached by Tom Smith, has struggled to find consistency for much of the 2013 campaign, but it looked like a team that might challenge for a District 6 crown, routing Hollidaysburg High, 13-3, Saturday afternoon in the championship of the Ron Fiochetta Memorial Tournament at Vets Field.

“Anytime you get a win against a rival, it’s always nice,” Smith said. “We talked to the team this week and told them we have to turn around. Hopefully these games will be a springboard for us.”

The Mountain Lion offense scored the most runs in any game this season, scoring the 13 runs on 16 hits. A lot of that came in the bottom of the second inning, scoring 11 of those runs in that frame alone. After a scoreless first inning and top half of the second, Travis Baker, Ben Wyland and Colby Fink led off with back-to-back-to singles, with Fink’s coming via bunt. The next batter, John McGinley, hit another single, scoring Altoona’s first run of the ball game. Next up for Altoona was it’s No. 9 hitter, Tyler Negri, who drew a bases loaded walk to plate Wyland.

After Joel Reighard followed with a big two-run single, Hollidaysburg starting pitcher Jordan McCall finally retired the first Mountain Lion batter, albiet on a sacrifice by Jaret Berardinelli, but Dylan Conrad followed with an RBI double. It was at this point that Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal pulled McCall in favor of sophomore Ryan Waltz and he retired the first batter he faced.

But Baker and Wyland hit back-to-back RBI singles, and Fink and Chesney reached on a single and walk, respectively. Reighard followed with his third and fourth RBIs of the game before Waltz got the third out.

“We struggled offensively all year, but we’ve started hitting the past two days,” Smith said.

“McCall has been pitching really well for us,” Szynal said. “Give Altoona’s hitters credit for hitting well today.”

Wyland was so strong on the bump today, in particular in the early going, scattering just three hits while throwing up goose eggs onto the scoreboard through the first four innings. Waltz, on the other hand, blanked the Mountain Lions in the third, but allowed a run-scoring single by Marcus Wolf in the home half of the fourth. The Tigers were finally able to get to Wyland in the fifth inning, allowing three singles, while giving up those three runs and making it a 12-3 game. After Stayer led off the bottom half of the fifth with a single, Baker hit a double. Stayer scored the mercy-rule-inducing run on a groundout by Fink.

Altoona improved to 6-7, while the Tigers fell to 12-4.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (3): Sipes 2b 200, Ritchey 2b 111, Fluke cf 000, Kelly cf 000, Glass dh 301, Hileman ss 201, Urban ss 111, E. Miller 3b 200, Springer 3b 100, Crum 1b 200, Simpson 1b 101, McCall p 100, Waltz p 200, R. Miller c 200, Hilling c 000, Sell rf 100, Helsel rf 100, Russell lf 101, Weaver lf 010. Totals 23 3 6.

ALTOONA (13): Reighard 2b 212, Wolf ph 101, Berardinelli ss 201, Conrad c 301, Johnson cr 010, Steinbugl ph 100, Stayer lf 411, Baker 1b 323, Wyland p 422, Fink 3b 333, McGinley rf 000, Chesney dh 121, DeGol dh 100, Negri cf 111. Totals 26 13 16.


Hollidaysburg000 03 3 6 0

Altoona0(11)0 11 13 16 3

E Fink 2, Baker. Dp Altoona 1, Hollidaysburg 1. 2b Hileman, Reighard, Conrad. RBI Simpson, Urban 2, Reighard 4, Wolf, Conrad, Baker , Wyland, Fink, Chesney, Negri 2. Sac bunt Berardinelli. WP Wyland. LP McCall. SO Wyland 4. BB Wyland 1,McCall 2, Waltz 5 .

Records: Hollidaysburg (12-4); Altoona (6-7).