Gampe, Tigers topple Altoona

Hollidaysburg Area freshman right-handed pitcher Caleb Gampe is a player who possesses composure well behind his years.

Gampe put that poise on display Wednesday night at Mansion Park, tossing a complete-game six-hit victory, as Hollidaysburg trimmed archrival Altoona, 5-2.

After giving up two unearned Altoona runs in the bottom of the fifth inning that whittled Hollidaysburg’s lead to 5-2, Gampe pulled himself up by the bootstraps and pitched scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh, putting the clamps on Hollidaysburg’s victory by retiring six of the last seven batters to face him.

Both coaches were duly impressed.

“He has a very good arm, and he knows how to pitch,” Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said of Gampe, who struck out five batters and walked three. “He’s very poised and under control for a freshman, so we weren’t afraid to give him the ball on a big stage under the lights tonight.

“He’s a low-key guy who stays focused on what he has to do, and what we want him to do,” Szynal said. “He was ahead (in the count) against most of the hitters throughout the game, he threw two pitches (fast ball and curve ball) for strikes, and he kept them off-balance. We made some nice plays behind him, and we scored enough runs to give him a cushion.”

Altoona coach Tom Smith was impressed with Gampe’s composure after the Mountain Lions had scored two runs in the fifth inning.

“We hit him a little bit in the fifth inning and scored two runs, but he came right back out in the sixth inning and set us down 1,2,3,” Smith said. “It was a pretty impressive performance for a ninth-grader to go out and collect himself like that.”

Gampe gave a lot of credit to the teammates playing behind him.

“I threw to my spots well, and the defense helped me out and kept me in it,” Gampe said. “My curve ball was definitely working, and my fast ball was working well when I was behind in counts.”

Hollidaysburg (5-5) jumped off to an early 5-0 fifth-inning lead with the help of some timely hitting and some Altoona errors.

In the first inning, shortstop Brenden Hileman drew a leadoff walk against Altoona starting pitcher Jake Stolarski and advanced to third on a throwing error as center fielder Collin Stevenson reached first. Second baseman Ethan Lieb followed with an RBI single to right field to score Hileman, and move Stevenson to second.

After Stevenson was wild-pitched to third, he scored the second run of the inning when Keaton Nolan bounced into a forceout.

Hollidaysburg added two more runs in the second inning to go ahead, 4-0. Left fielder Sam Mierley led off by reaching on an error, and advanced to second on a single to center field by first baseman Preston Shoemaker. After Hileman’s well-placed sacrifice bunt advanced both runners up a base, Stevenson’s single to center field brought them both home.

In the top of the fifth inning, right fielder Noah Gochnour singled and scored on catcher Logan Margroum’s double to the right-center gap that gave Hollidaysburg its 5-0 lead.

“We didn’t come out of the gate real well,” said Smith, whose Mountain Lions dropped to 6-7 on the year. “We put ourselves in a bind, and give them credit, they capitalized — they got some big hits, and took advantage of our mistakes.”

Altoona plated both its runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on RBI singles by shortstop Matt Hartman and right fielder Ian Yon. Hartman’s single scored left fielder Braeden Burchfield, who had led off the inning by reaching on an error, and Yon’s single scored Hartman.

With Gampe closing the door from that point on, Hollidaysburg was able to hold on for the victory.

“We had some timely hits early on in the game, and that ended up being enough,” Szynal said.

HOLLIDAYSBURG (5): Hileman ss 111, Stevenson cf 411, Lieb 2b 000, Kratzer dh 402, Nolan 3b 400, Gochnour rf 411, Margroum c 401, Helsel cr 000, Gampe p 300, Mierley lf 310, Shoemaker 1b 312. Totals — 30-5-6.

ALTOONA (2): Stolarski p 000, Bardelang p 000, Kravetz dh 211, Hartman ss 402, Yon rf 402, Gority 1b 300, Hunter c 200, Gibson 2b 300, Sinisi 3b 301, Burchfield lf 310, Becker cf 300. Totals — 27-2-6.

PITCHING

HOLLIDAYSBURG

Gampe (W) 7IP, 6H, 2R, 0ER, 5SO, 3BB.

Stolarski (L) 4+IP, 8H, 5R, 3ER, 1BB, 4SO; Bardelang 3IP, OR, 0ER, 1BB, 4SO.

WP–Gampe 3, Stolarski 2. PB–Hunter.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Hollidaysburg 220 010 0–5 8 1

Altoona 000 020 0–2 6 3

E–Lieb, Hartman 2, Sinisi. 2B–Margroum. RBI–Stevenson 2, Lieb, Nolan, Margroum, Hartman, Yon. SAC–Hileman, Mierley. LOB–Hollidaysburg 9, Altoona 7.

Time of game: 1:56.

Records: Hollidaysburg (5-5); Altoona (6-7).

Umpires: Shaun McCready (plate); Joe Bidoli, Jr. (bases).

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