Locker Room puts away Lilly Conrad
For Locker Room, the third time was indeed the charm.
Led by a relentless offensive attack, Locker Room came up with timely responses for every time Lilly Conrad Chiropractic American Legion seemed to creep back into the game. Locker Room compiled 16 hits and 10 runs to outlast Lilly, winners of 13 of the last 14 Altoona Greater City Baseball League titles, by a 10-7 decision in Game 4 at Vets Field to win its first title in franchise history, prevailing 3-1 in the series.
“It feels really good,” said league MVP Brett Weibley, who went 3-for-5 with a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs. “These guys (Lilly) have been together for a long time, they’ve dominated this league for a long time.
“We put this team together four years ago. They’ve had our number out of the gates. It just felt like the past couple weeks coming into this championship series, we kind of hit our stride. It almost felt like before you came to the field, we were going to win.”
Weibley and Johnny Martinez formed an remarkable 1-2 punch atop the Locker Room lineup, combining for nine of the 10 RBIs. Martinez went 2-for-5, which included a three-run home run, with five RBIs.
“Johnny’s home run was a big home run early in the game,” Locker Room manager R.J. Barnard said. “Weibley’s was a towering shot, that thing was blasted. Anytime there is a home run hit in a game, it is a momentum-booster. It gets everyone fired up.”
Lilly had bested Locker Room, who had eight of nine starters produce at least one hit, in the two previous championship series by a 3-1 margin each time. After Locker Room took an early 5-1 lead, Lilly chipped away at the lead but were ultimately unable to overcome their opponent’s deep and potent attack.
“If I said we had eight hits, seven runs and no errors with our ace going, I thought we would have been in good shape,” Lilly player-manager Lucas McCoy said. “Unfortunately they stuck up 16 hits and 10 runs. In the first five innings, they only had one empty frame. Credit them for keeping the pressure on and then answering our runs with runs of their own.”
Both teams scored a single run in the first.
Locker Room tallied four runs in the second, highlighted by Martinez’s three-run frozen rope that hit the light tower in right off Lilly starter Shane Suter.
Lilly answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half. Cody Gallaher singled home two runs to climb within two runs.
Weibley hit a no-doubt, two-run home run to left-center in the third to go up 7-3.
“I was just trying to look for a good pitch to hit out over the plate and help my team win the best I could every single game,” said Weibley, who went 6-for-13 in the series with eight runs scored, three home runs and 10 RBIs.
Lilly responded with two runs in the fourth to pull within two once again.
Weibley blooped in a double down the right field line to drive in two runs. Martinez followed with an RBI single to go up 10-5.
Lilly chased winning pitcher Trey Claar in the fifth as they scored on an error and Kyle Droz’s RBI single. Locker Room reliever Brett Hileman then threw three shutout frames to close out the game with a save. LR ended up giving Lilly six of its seven losses this season.
“We knew all year this could be a special year for us,” Barnard said. “We ran the table in the regular season. We wouldn’t have wanted this against anybody else other than Lilly. They’ve been the superior team in the league. It feels good to finally beat them.”
Lilly remained upbeat after witnessing their unprecedented title run come to a temporary end.
“It still was a successful year. We got to the championship facing Locker Room, who we wanted to face,” McCoy said. “I think we were the two best teams in the league. We’ll be back next year ready to make another run at it and try to get No. 14.”
Gallaher, C.J. McCoy and Brock Porter each had two hits for Lilly.
LOCKER ROOM (10): Weibley cf 533, Martinez 1b 512, Roberts 3b 513, Brett Hileman dh/p 401, Scholly 2b 402, Stiffler ss 400, Pollicino rf 311, Morrow c 303, Shiffler cr 030, Pietrolungo lf 401, Claar p 000. Totals – 37 10 16.
LILLY CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC AMERICAN LEGION (7): Matish cf 110, Olsavsky rf 110, Gallaher dh 402, Sinclair 3b 400, Porter rf/lf 312, B. Ickes 2b 211, Droz 1b 401, L. McCoy ss 120, C. McCoy c 312, R. Ickes lf/cf 200, Suter p 000, Bandzuh p 000. Totals – 25 7 8.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Locker Room 142 030 0 – 10 16 3
Lilly CC/AL 120 220 0 – 7 8 0
E-Pietrolungo 2, Martinez. 2B-Weibley, Porter. HR-Weibley, Martinez. RBI-Weibley 4, Martinez 5, Scholly, Olsavsky, Gallaher 2, B. Ickes, Droz, L. McCoy. SB-Roberts. SAC-R. Ickes. SF-Olsavsky, B. Ickes, L. McCoy.
LOCKER ROOM: Claar (W)-4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 85 pitches. Brett Hileman (SV)-3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 0 K, 43 pitches.
LILLY CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC AMERICAN LEGION: Suter (L)-6 IP, 14 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K, 125 pitches. Bandzuh-1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 15 pitches.
Umpires: Steve Shuniak (HP; Larry Stitt (1B); Joe Thompson (3B).
Best-of-5 series: Locker Room wins, 3-1.
Records: Locker Room (25-1); Lilly CC/AL: (22-7).