Johnston goes 1-1 during opening play
By Michael Boytim
LILLY — Down to its last out with no one on base and down a run in the final inning Tuesday, Johnston Realty looked like a solid candidate for an award for the worst day in All American Amateur Baseball Association history.
The Altoona entry had blown its second four-run lead of the day and already lost to Youngstown, 5-4, in 10 innings earlier at Mount Aloysius College.
What was once a 6-2 lead against Baltimore was now a 7-6 deficit with Hunter Blair at the plate. An out would mean Johnston Realty’s final pool-play game today against Martella’s Pharmacy would be basically meaningless with no shot to advance into tournament play.
Blair didn’t get out.
Instead, he laced a double. Ben Foose pinch ran, and Frank Montecalvo singled up the middle to score Foose and tie the game. An inning later, winning pitcher Dylan Gearhart singled in the go-ahead run as Johnston Realty won, 9-7, in eight innings.
“I tried to avoid any negativity in my brain,” Montecalvo said. “I just acted like it was 0-0. I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself, so I just went up there like no one was on base and swung the bat.”
Blair didn’t even play in the first game and was hitless in three at bats before the double.
“That was a big hit with two outs,” Johnston Realty manager George Goodling said. “He’s been hurt all spring, and his bat is slowly coming along. That was exciting, and then Frank got Foose home. It was a total team effort.”
Despite the two runs in the top of the eighth, the game wasn’t over. Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning to force Gearhart out of the game.
In came Brian Egan, who had not appeared in any of the first 17 innings Johnston Realty played Tuesday.
If he had any rust sitting around all day, it didn’t show. The 17-year-old struck out the final three batters to record the save.
“We had a lot at stake, obviously,” Egan said. “We lost the first game, so if we would have lost this one, we were probably done. I went in there trying to shut them down, but realistically, if I mess up, the bases were loaded before I came in, so it wouldn’t be all my fault
“I hate to sound selfish about it, but it did kind of help relieve the stress.”
Johnston Realty will try to finish pool play at 2-1 when it takes on Johnstown’s top entry, Martella’s Pharmacy, at Point Stadium tonight at 7.
“I’m so excited,” Montecalvo said. “I can go home, sleep in and get a big breakfast and lunch to fuel up for the game. It’s going to be awesome.”
As Altoona celebrated, Baltimore walked slowly off the field after being dealt another tough blow on an already difficult day.
The Monsters left Point Stadium Monday night believing they had beaten Martella’s, 2-1, but a protest over the color of the bat used to drive in the winning run reversed the decision. Forced to start the game at 1-1 in the ninth inning Tuesday morning, Baltimore made a three-base error and lost to Martella’s, 2-1.
“The emotional game we had last night felt like a championship game in front of about 6,000 people,” Baltimore manager Eric Ryan said. “We pulled out a win, and then it feels like it is stolen from us. To me, that game was taken from them, but they still came out here and played with heart and battled back.”
Baltimore will close out pool play against Youngstown this afternoon.
It was Youngstown dealing out the heartbreak to Johnston Realty earlier Tuesday when it battled back from a 4-0 deficit after four innings to win in 10 innings.
Goodling gambled by relieving starting pitcher Tyler Peterson after four shutout innings to save him for later in the tournament when it seemed like the game was in control.
“We talked about whether to leave him in or take him out so he can throw later in the week,” Goodling said. “Things were rolling along, and suddenly we got into trouble and stopped hitting the ball.”
Trenton Creppage and Lennox Pugh each had three hits in the opener, but Youngstown relief pitcher Nick Woloschak held Johnston Realty to just one unearned run over the final eight innings.
“We started Michael Massucci, who has been a workhorse for us all summer long,” Youngstown manager Bob Mingo said. “I felt he didn’t have it, and Altoona took advantage of it. I told him I was going to pull him for another day. We put in Nick, and he was great. We played with heart.”
Game notes: Ethan Hite is scheduled to start for Johnston Realty tonight against Martella’s. … John Servello left the Baltimore game after going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI when he aggravated a pulled hamstring. Goodling hopes he will be able to play tonight. … Pugh finished the day with five hits. … Creppage made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch in left field to save a run during the second inning of the loss to Youngstown.
JOHNSTON REALTY (4): Storm ss 500, Treese 1b 402, J. Servello cf 501, Pugh 3b 503, Bankovich c 410, Holesa 2b 511, Creppage lf 513, Peterson p 000, Roush p 000, Foose p 000, Gearhart dh 411, Copenhaver rf 200, Montecalvo rf 200. Totals – 41-4-11
YOUNGSTOWN (5): Swope ss 321, Cardona c 402, Ty. Cannon 1b 401, Massucci p 000, Woloschak p 000, To. Cannon dh 311, Zaluski cf 412, Geisler rf 300, Diciocci 3b 401, Wolf lf 300, Fryda 2b 310. Totals – 31-5-8
SCORE BY INNINGS
Johnston Realty 030 100 000 0 – 4 11 0
Youngstown 000 022 000 1 – 5 8 4
E-Diciocci 3, Fryda. 2B-Cardona, Pugh 2. 3B–Treese. RBI-Storm, Treese, Creppage, Gearhart, Cardona 2, Diciocci, Wolf, To. Cannon. SB-Bankovich, Zaluski. SAC-To. Cannon, Geisler, Cardona. SF–Wolf.
JOHNSTON REALTY: Peterson-4IP, 2H, 0K, 1BB, 1HBP, 0R, 0ER, 58 pitches; Roush-1 1/3IP, 3H, 1K, 3BB, 4R, 4ER, 39 pitches. Foose (L)-4IP, 3H, 3K, 0BB, 1R, 1ER, 57 pitches.
YOUNGSTOWN: Massuci-2IP, 3H, 3K, 1BB, 3R, 1ER, 44 pitches. Woloschak (W)-8IP, 8H, 6K, 0BB, 1R, 0ER, 94 pitches.
Umpires: Brent Dorofey (HP); Ron Goisovich (1b); Rich Horner (2b); Pete Cassidy (3b).
JOHNSTON REALTY (9): Storm ss 322, Treese 1b 410, J. Servello cf 312, Creppage rf 200, Pugh 3b 512, S. Servello p 000, Cursio p 000, Holesa dh-2b 423, Gearhart 2b-p 402, Copenhaver rf-cf 400, Peterson ph-lf 100, Blair c 401, Foose pr 010, Bankovich c 100, Montecalvo lf-cf 411. Totals – 39-9-13
BALTIMORE (7): Rosier lf 533, Acevedo ss 321, Pass rf 402, Montanez 1b-c 301, Kline p 000, Smith p 000, Yenchik dh 401, Sheehan 3b 300, Nesler 2b 310, Mendez c 100, Hunter pr 010, Sutherland 1b 200, Leon cf 200. Totals – 30-7-8
SCORE BY INNINGS
Johnston Realty 300 300 12 – 9 13 0
Baltimore 101 302 00 – 7 8 3
E-Nesler, Sheehan 2. 2B-Pass, Yenchik, Acevedo, Montanez, Pugh, Holesa, Blair. 3B–Holesa. RBI-J. Servello, Pugh 2, Holesa 2, Gearhart, Peterson, Montecalvo. SB-Storm, Rosier 2, Nesler. SAC-Sheehan. SF-Yenchik.
JOHNSTON REALTY: S. Servello-3IP, 2H, 4K, 2BB, 1HBP, 2R, 2ER, 73 pitches; Cursio-1IP, 3H, 2K, 1BB, 3R, 3ER, 31 pitches; Gearhart (W)-3IP, 4H, 4K, 3BB, 2R, 2ER, 70 pitches; Egan (S)-1IP, 0H, 3K, 0BB, 0R, 0ER, 18 pitches.
BALTIMORE: Kline-2 1/3IP, 6H, 3K, 3BB, 3R, 3ER, 61 pitches; Smith (L)-5 2/3IP, 7H, 7K, 2BB, 6R, 1ER, 95 pitches.
Umpires: Steve Shuniak (HP); Bill Wolf (1b); Brandon Stitt (3b).
Records: Johnston Realty (1-1); Youngstown (1-0); Baltimore (0-2).