Mountain Lions’ ‘frustrating’ season reaches its end

STATE COLLEGE – Inconsistency was the word that Altoona coach Tom Smith used when summing up the Mountain Lions’ season.

It was clearly on display in Altoona’s loss to State College, 10-0 in six innings, on Friday in the ending of a District 6 Class AAAA semifinal game that was suspended in the top of the fifth inning Thursday.

The Mountain Lions (8-12) committed four errors in the game that saw the Little Lions put up nine runs in the first inning.

“You can’t afford to have the number of errors that we had, especially in a playoff game,” Smith said. “We dug ourselves a hole with those nine runs in the first inning. We played them even the rest of the way through.”

Caleb Walls opened the game for State College (15-6) by reaching on an error by Altoona second baseman Joel Reighard. Walls later came around to score when Mountain Lions starting pitcher Ben Wyland made an errant throw to first trying to get the Little Lions’ Dan Fry out.

Following Fry’s at-bat, Darian Herncane smacked a bases-clearing double to left field pushing State College’s lead to 4-0. Calvin Sichler drew a walk in his at-bat and was followed by Ken Craig’s triple that drove in Herncane and Sichler. Craig then scored on the same play on another error.

“They did a great job getting off to that start,” Little Lions coach Bill Tussey said of his team. “I can’t give them anything other than kudos. If you look at it across the board, all nine of them contributed. It was a great team effort.”

Tanner Witter followed Craig with a single to left field, and State College started to bat around. Walls laid down a perfect bunt, and Nick Smith loaded the bases up with a single of his own. Fry drove in all three with a bases-clearing double, and that was all for the scoring in the game to that point.

Altoona came out swinging on Friday and loaded the bases with two outs. Two singles from Reighard and Colby Fink and a walk from Dylan Conrad set the Mountain Lions up to score. However, State College’s Ben Finlan settled in and got a groundout to his first baseman to end the threat. It would be the only time the Mountain Lions came close to scoring in the game.

Altoona committed its last error of the game in the sixth inning that should have been a double play. It allowed the Little Lions’ Fry to score and ended the game due to the 10-run rule.

“We couldn’t generate anything offensively,” Smith said. “They end up ending the game because we couldn’t make plays there in the infield. It is very frustrating.”

ALTOONA (0): Reighard 2b 201, Fink rf-3b 201, Conrad c 200, Lombardo cr 000, Baker 1b 300, Stayer lf 300, Wyland p 201, Johnson p 101, Helsel cr 000, Berardinelli ss 300, Martin 3b 100, Negri cf 100, McGinley cf-rf 200. Totals 22-0-4.

STATE COLLEGE (10):Walls dh 421, Raquet p 000, Finlan p 000, Smith 2b 422, Fry cf 423, Herncane 312, Costa c 401, Van Horn cr 000, Karstetter 3b 300, Sichler ss 110, Craig 1b 212, Witter rf 312. Totals 28-10-13.


Altoona000 000 x – 0 4 4

State College900 001 x – 10 13 0

E-Reighard 2, Wyland, Fink. 2B-Fry, Herncane. 3B-Craig, Witter. RBI-Fry 3, Herncane 2, Costa. WP-Raquet. LP-Wyland. SO-Wyland, Johnson 3, Raquet 7, Finlan. BB-Wyland 2, Johnson, Raquet 2, Finlan 2.

Records: Altoona (8-12); State College (15-6).