Johnston knocked out of tourney
By John Hartsock
JOHNSTOWN — After opening the 2017 AAABA national tournament by splitting two competitive games Tuesday, Altoona’s Johnston Realty team departed the tourney by losing a clunker on Wednesday night.
Johnstown’s Martella’s Pharmacy banged out 14 hits, got solid pitching from left-hander Trey McGough — who came within one out of a complete game — and benefited from five Altoona errors in posting a 14-1, seven-inning mercy-rule victory under the lights at Point Stadium.
“We pretty much got shelled,” Johnston Realty manager George Goodling said. “We had five errors on the board, and they had 14 hits, and I’ve got to tip my hat to their pitcher (McGough). He pitched a heck of a game.”
McGough allowed just five hits — including shortstop Cory Storm’s third-inning triple that paved the way for Johnston Realty’s only run and gave Altoona a short-lived 1-0 lead when he scored on a passed ball — while striking out seven batters and walking only one.
Right-hander Brad Coleman came on in relief to get the final out for Johnstown, which improved to 3-0 in pool play and will advance to host Maryland State tonight at Point Stadium.
“It’s a good feeling see our offense break out like that, and Trey did a fantastic job of filling up the strike zone tonight,” Johnstown manager Jesse Cooper said of McGough. “He dominated with his offspeed stuff, setting it up with his fast ball.”
McGough, who is a sophomore at Mount St. Mary’s University, said his game plan on the mound was to mix speeds.
“They were sitting on the fast ball a lot,” McGough said of the Johnston Realty batters. “I tried to keep them off-balance with my change-up.”
McGough pitched a clean, crisp game, but Johnstown’s potent offensive attack still left him plenty of room for error if he had needed it.
Third baseman Jonny Kutchman, a sophomore at Waynesburg University, sparked the Johnstown batting attack with a 5-for-5 night and four RBIs. All of Kutchman’s hits were singles, and he drove in one run in Johnstown’s five-run fourth inning, another in the sixth inning, and two more in Johnstown’s seven-run seventh inning that put the mercy rule into effect.
“He’s that guy you want coming up to the plate,” Cooper said of Kutchman. “He’s going to get the barrel of the bat on the baseball.”
Kutchman’s approach at the plate was a simple one.
“I tried to get some good at-bats, and to see pitches that I wanted to hit,” Kutchman said. “Everybody played well tonight, and Trey pitched a great game.”
Johnstown jumped on Altoona right-handed starting pitcher Ethan Hite for five runs on six hits in the top of the fourth inning to take command of the game and a 5-1 lead.
Center fielder Nemo Trexler started the uprising with a single, stole second, was bunted up to third, and scored on catcher Nico Pecora’s single. After first baseman Boston Bradley walked, moving Pecora to second, left fielder Dan Clark cracked a double off the wall in left-center, scoring Pecora and moving Bradley to third.
Another long double off the wall in left-center by second baseman Jack Shirk plated both Bradley and Clark and gave Johnstown a 4-1 lead. Right fielder Omar Ward’s single moved Shirk to third, from where he scored the final run of the inning on Kutchman’s single to left field.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Goodling said of Johnstown’s game-turning rally. “Things build like a snowball, and you can’t stop it.”
Johnstown made it a 7-1 game with two runs in the sixth inning, courtesy of Kutchman’s RBI single and an Altona error that allowed the second run to score.
Johnstown made a rout of it with a seven-run third against two Altoona relievers. Johnstown’s four hits in the inning included two-run singles by both Kutchman and designated hitter Blaine Harteis, and an RBI triple by shortstop Tanner Poloinski. Two more runs scored on an Altoona error.
Goodling returns just about everybody on this year’s roster next year, so hopes are high for the future.
“I’m happy with the team that I have coming back,” Goodling said. “They’re all a good bunch of coachable kids.”
JOHNSTOWN (14): Clark lf-rf 421, Shirk 2b 421, Ward rf 311, Kutchman 3b-1b 525, Coyle 3b 100, Harteis dh 501, Trexler cf 432, Poloinski ss 311, Pecora c 521, Pasko ph 101, Bradley 1b 210, McGough p 000, Coleman p 000. Totals — 37-14-14.
ALTOONA (1): Storm ss 311, Treese rf 301, Creppage dh 201, Pugh 3b 300, Holesa 1b-2b 300, Foose 1b 000, Gearhart 2b-lf 200, S. Servello ph 100, Bankovich c 100, Blair ph 100, Copenhaver cf 202, Peterson ph 100, Montecalvo lf 200, Hite p 000, Mykut p 000, Egan p 000, Roush p 000. Totals –24-1-5.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Johnstown 000 502 7–14 14 0
Altoona 001 000 0–1 5 5
E–Pugh 3, Treese, Mykut. 2B –Clark, Shirk. 3B–Stormm Poloinksi. RBI–Kutchman 4, Harteis 2, Shirk 2, Clark, Poloinski, Pecora. SAC–Poloinski 2, Bradley. SB–Trexler 2, Pecora, Ward. LOB–Johnstown 10, Altoona 4. HBP–Ward by Hite. DP–Johnstown turned 2 (Trexler to Bradley; Poloinski to Bradley); Altoona turned 1 (Storm to Gearhart to Holesa).
JOHNSTOWN: McGough (W) 6 2/3IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 7BB; Coleman 1/3 IP; 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO.
ALTOONA: Hite (L) 3 1/3 IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 0SO; Mykut 3+IP, 2H, 5R, 0ER, 2BB, 1SO; Egan 1/3 IP, 4H, 4R, 1ER, 0BB, 1SO; Roush 1/3 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, OBB, 1SO.
WP–Egan. PB–Pecora 2.
Umpires: Bill Meyers (plate); Brian Crawford (first base); Jesse Wright (second base); Scott Reiter (third base). Time of game: 2:17.