Big first inning carries Wise

JOHNSTOWN – Just like Thursday’s game, Wise Trailer Sales got started early.

The Altoona entry in the AAABA National Tournament scored four runs in the top of the first inning, which started five minutes before it was scheduled. Wise survived another day, beating Laurel Auto Group, one of two Johnstown entries, 9-3, at Point Stadium Thursday afternoon.

“(Wednesday), we came out flat against Philly after a very emotional night against Martella’s Tuesday night,” Wise manager Rick Westover said. “We came out flat, made a couple mistakes. It was good for the kids. They were focused since this morning. They got up early, and guys were focused. It was good to come out here and capitalize on a couple mistakes that Laurel made early.”

Wise Trailer Sales sent eight batters to the plate, scoring four runs, collecting two hits and had two other baserunners reach on two errors in the first inning.

The win sends Wise off into another day at the AAABA Tournament, where it will get a rematch with Philadelphia, which fell to Chicago-Metro also Thursday afternoon. Wise will play at 1 p.m. today at Point Stadium.

Philadelphia handed Wise its loss on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to play our game,” Westover said. “We didn’t take care of the baseball last time when we played Philly. We left a lot of guys on base. We need to clean it up. Philly is a good team.”

In the first inning, Jake Stern collected two RBIs on the first of back-to-back triples for Wise. His brother, Isaac, then hit one to score Jake.

On the day, Jake Stern finished with two hits and three runs.

“We got lucky, and they gave us the one,” Jake said. “Then we were able to string some hits together. We hit well as a team and came together with a good team effort.”

After the first inning, Wise Trailer Sales fell quiet at the plate, and Danny Clark of Laurel pulled his team within three with a solo homer over the brick wall in left center.

Following that, Laurel notched another run on a single by Ben Webb.

But Wise Trailer Sales shifted the momentum back when Jextin Pugh and Jake Stern scored on a wild pitch and passed ball, respectively. Before the inning was over, Wise Trailer Sales added one more run.

“It was big because it kind of switched momentum,” Westover said. “They had a couple of hits and that kid had a home run. It went to 4-2 and we came back out and have a couple good at-bats. We were opportunistic with some things.”

“Pitching and defense wins championships. We were not clean in those two aspects in the entire tournament,” an emotional Laurel manager Mark Thomchick said. “It’s tough to win when you have to keep pressing offensively to stay with another team.”

Another thing Laurel lacked was the big hit. Laurel scored just one run in the seventh inning after having the bases loaded with no one out. Laurel also stranded runners in scoring position in the sixth, eight and ninth innings as well.

“That was kind of again the story of our tournament,” Thomchick said. “We didn’t get big hits with two outs. That can come back to bite you.”

The Altoona entry added two more runs in the ninth inning to insure the victory.

At the plate, Pugh went 3-for-4 with two runs and Cy Treaster and Cayden Stover also recorded multi-hit days.

Now, it’s a rematch against Philadelphia, something Jake Stern said he’s looking forward to.

“We just need to play our game,” he said. “Everything else will play out. Let’s see what happens. It’s nice to get a rematch against them.”

WISE TRAILER SALES (9): Runk cf 511, Faretta 3b 600, C. Helsel 1b 500, Pugh dh 423 J. Stern 2b 432, I. Stern rf 512, Treaster c 422, Stover 502, Herncane lf 402, Schoeffer p 000, Martin p 000, Z. Helsel 000. Totals-42-9-14

LAUREL AUTO GROUP: Clark lf 411, Webb 2b 502, Heide 1b 501, Urtz 3b 301, Mock dh 40,1, Jones ss 401, Barr rf 200, Thompson rf 200, Laguzza c 413, White cf 411, Tubb p 000, Nowicki p 000, Mori p 000, Kolat p 000. Totals- 35-3-11.


Wise Trailer Sales 400 003 002- 9 14 0

Laurel Auto Group 001 010 100- 3 11 2

E-Jones, Barr. 2B- Laguzza 2, Pugh, Herncane. 3B-J. Stern, I. Stern. HR-Clark. RBI-Clark, Webb, Runk 2, J. Stern 2, I. Stern, Treaster, Stover. WP-Martin. LP- Tubb. S- Z. Helsel. SO- Tubbs 4, Schoeffer, Martin, Helsel. BB-Tubbs 2, Nowicki, Mori 2, Schoeffer, Helsel.

Records: Laurel Auto Group 2-2, Wise Trailer Sales (3-1)