Luensmann pitches B-A past BG

Chad Luensmann earned an NCAA Division I college baseball scholarship to the University of Nebraska as a right-handed pitcher out of tiny Bellwood-Antis High School.

Luensmann’s younger brother, Travis, is now only a sophomore at Bellwood, but is already showing a similar type of ability and pedigree.

Standing 6-foot-5, Travis Luensmann, also a right-hander, possesses the physical size to go along with a good four-seam fast ball and sharp curveball that will surely put him on the radar as a top college prospect.

Travis Luensmann had both pitches working effectively for Bellwood in Monday’s District 6 Class 1A semifinal-round playoff game against Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic at Vets Field, as he threw a four-hit shutout and struck out 10 batters to lead the Blue Devils back into the district championship game with a 5-0 win.

Luensmann walked only one batter and reached the PIAA mandated limit of 100 pitches in the game while getting Gaige Reighard to ground out for the final out as the third-seeded Blue Devils (18-3) punched their ticket into Wednesday’s 1 p.m. championship game against fourth-seeded Southern Huntingdon at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

“What was working for me today was a four-seam fast ball that I could really locate down and away,” Luensmann said. “I could throw it to a good spot, and I focused on that. I worked in a curve ball to mess up the hitters’ timing, then I would throw the fast ball inside on their hands. I was feeling real good after the first couple of innings. I kept my pitch count low, and that helped me for the rest of the game.”

Luensmann’s pitching helped Bellwood punch its second straight appearance into the district championship game and enabled the Blue Devils to make their third appearance in the district title game in the last four seasons.

“He had an outstanding day today,” Bellwood coach Steve Conlon said of Luensmann. “The game was pushed back to today because of rain on Saturday, and it worked in our favor, because it gave him a full five days of rest after pitching last Tuesday. There’s not too much else that you can say other than that he was outstanding.”

Second-seeded Bishop Guilfoyle (13-6) had only four singles off Luensmann, and only two of them left the infield.

“He was excellent,” BG coach Jeff Stanek said of Luensmann. “He was very competitive, he threw a lot of strikes, and he didn’t do anything to hurt himself. He deserved to win. He’s got a great future ahead of him, and a chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps. He looks like a Division I arm to me.”

Bellwood capitalized on the scoring chances that presented themselves, as the Blue Devils took a 4-0 lead by scoring a run in each of the first four innings.

Senior second baseman Ian McFarland led Bellwood’s batting attack with a 4-for-4 performance at the plate that included a pair of RBI doubles.

Center fielder Trent Walker also drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single.

“Ian in the leadoff spot had a great day at the plate,” Conlon said of McFarland. “He set the table for us with those RBIs, and Trent had a big hit. We did just enough offensively, and our pitching and defense have been solid.”

McFarland opened the game with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on Walker’s sacrifice fly.

In the second inning, shortstop Alex Schmoke reached on a two-out error and McFarland doubled him home.

Bellwood took a 3-0 lead in the third inning after first baseman Troy Walker and right fielder Trent Whaley both drew two-out walks. Both runners were wild-pitched up a base, and Troy Walker scored on third baseman Mark Stewart’s flair single to short right field.

In the fourth inning, designated hitter Nick Plank reached on an error, was sacrificed to second by Schmoke, and scored on McFarland’s double to deep center field that staked Bellwood to a 4-0 lead.

Bellwood tacked on its fifth run in the sixth inning when Schmoke reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second base on McFarland’s single, and scored on Trent Walker’s single.

Wednesday will mark the third appearance in four seasons in the District 6 championship game for this year’s group of Bellwood seniors, and Luensmann feels that’s something to celebrate.

“It’s great for us to be moving on,” Luensmann said. “This will be the third year (in the district final) for our seniors, and we want to play for them and get them as far as we can.”

BELLWOOD-ANTIS (5): McFarland 2b 414, Trent Walker cf 301, Luensmann p 400, Showalter c 401, Shedlock cr 000, Troy Walker 1b 311, Whaley rf 301, Stewart 3b 401, Kost lf 000, Plank dh 310, Schmoke ss 220. Totals — 30-5-9.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (0): Okada ss 300, Potopa c 301, Fanelli 3b 300, Yasulitis rf 301, Berish cf 302, Lewis 2b 000, Georgiana dh 300, Hammerle 1b 200, Berkheimer ph 100, Reighard lf 200, Carrieri p 100, Pleva p 100. Totals — 25-0-4.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Bellwood-Antis 111 101 0–5 9 2

Bishop Guilfoyle 000 000 0–0 4 3

E–Showalter, Schmoke, Fanelli 2, Okada. 2B–McFarland 2. RBI–McFarland 2, Trent Walker 2, Stewart. SF–Trent Walker. SAC–Schmoke. SB–McFarland, Fanelli 2, Reighard. LOB–Bellwood-Antis 8, Bishop Guilfoyle 5.

Records: Bellwood-Antis (18-3); Bishop Guilfoyle (13-6).

PITCHING

Bellwood-Antis: Luensmann (W) 7IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 10 SO.

Bishop Guilfoyle: Carrieri (L) 3.1 IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 4SO; Pleva 3.2 IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 2SO.

WP–Carrieri. PB–Potopa.

Umpires: Steve Oakes (plate); Joe Bidoli, Jr., Mark Eberwein (bases).

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