Green Hornets win third straight title
It’s one thing to win a title once, even back-to-back.
The Juniata Valley baseball team, though, has now done it for a third straight year in the District 6 postseason.
The Green Hornets took control from the first inning and never looked back as they captured their third straight District 6 Class A championship Saturday morning 12-2 in six innings over Homer-Center at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
“Jack (Johnson) pitched a great ballgame, we played good defense, turned a double play when we needed to,” Juniata Valley coach Don Price said. “We just hit up and down the lineup.
“Three in a row is just unbelievable. I’m so proud of these kids and the job they’ve done.”
Following a three up, three down first for the Wildcats, Seth Derugen set the tempo after belting a leadoff triple for the Green Hornets. He later scored on a Jacob Hensor sacrifice fly to center field to grab the early lead.
“It was a great momentum changer,” Seth Derugen said. “We knew our coaches have coached us in a great way. We came out, got three up, three down. The momentum just changed.”
Bryce Hensor latter in the frame cracked a double before scoring on Jake Houck’s single for a 2-0 lead.
Homer-Center made an early comeback attempt as Nate Davis reached on a walk in the second. He later scored on Tim Alcon’s two-out double to left field to cut the deficit in half.
Juniata Valley’s bats went right back to work in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a two-run double by Seth Derugen for a 3-run frame.
The Green Hornets capitalized on seven Wildcat errors the first coming in the second as Blake Morrison reached on the first of their miscues, scoring River Stewart.
“We work on that so much,” Homer-Center coach Scott Bauer said. “That really disappointed me that we had that many errors.”
Jack Johnson was solid on the mound for the champions going four innings giving up two runs on three hits striking out four batters and walking two.
“We’re not happy with just a .500 season or even just making it to the playoffs anymore,” Johnson said. “Our goal is D6, and make it far into the playoffs.”
Petey Orsargos gave the Wildcats one more opportunity to tie the game in the third as he led off the frame with double, later scoring on Canyon Rankin’s single.
Homer, though, grounded out into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play, ending their best chance at a come back.
The Hornets put the game away in the bottom of the third, with the scoring started by Quinn Zinobile who reached on a single and later scored on an error. The rally totaled six runs on four hits.
“They make you pay for your mistakes,” Bauer said. “It’s tough when you have a walk and couple of errors to get out of it as it is.”
Seth Derugen activated the 10-run rule when he drove in the game’s final run on a single in the sixth.
“We just know how to capitalize errors,” Derugen said. “We know to stay ahead of the game, look for the errors, and advance them.”
Juniata Valley will now have the chance to relax for the next week before opening the state playoffs on Monday, June 5 against the runner up of the WPIAL Championship between Greensburg Catholic and Jeannette, which is scheduled for May 31 in Washington, Pa.
HOMER-CENTER (2): Alexander ss 301, Rankin cf-p 201, Cavalier 2b 200, Popovich 3b 100, Lee dh 300, Davis p-rf-cf 200, Faris cr-3b 010, Saiani rf-p-rf 200, Alcon c 201, Daugherty cr 000, Perry 1b 200, Orsargos lf 211. Totals: 21-2-5.
JUNIATA VALLEY (12): S. Derugen cf 413, J. Hensor 2b 401, Rupert 2b 000, B. Hensor ss 412, J. Houck c 212, Hess ph-rf 000, Walters cr-ph-lf 110, Zinobile 3b-p 411, Stewart 1b 311, N. Richner pr 010, Johnson p-3b 210, K. Derugen cr-ph 010, Morrison lf 211, Walters rf 000, Harker rf 221 D. Richner lf 000. Totals: 28-12-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Homer-Center 011 000 x –2 4 7
Juniata Valley 236 001 x –12 12 0
E — Davis, Alcon 2, Cavalier, Popovich, Rankin, Faris (HC), 2B –Alcon, Orsargos (HC); B. Hensor 2, S. Derugen, J. Hensor 2 (JV), 3B — Alexander (HC); S. Derugen (JV), RBI — Alcon, Rankin (HC); J. Hensor, Houck, Morrison, S. Derugen 2, Johnson (JV).
HOMER-CENTER IP H R ER BB SO
Davis (L) 2.1 8 7 7 1 1
Saiani 0.2 2 4 3 0 0
Rankin 3 2 1 1 1 3
JUNIATA VALLEY IP H R ER BB SO
Johnson (W) 4 3 2 2 2 4
Zinobile 2 1 0 0 0 1
Umpires: HP –Jeff Holter, 1B –Tom Burger, 2B –Jerry Zollare, 3B –Tim Plank.
Records: Homer-Center (18-5); Juniata Valley (19-2).