Three-time reigning champs ousted from playoffs
BOALSBURG — Juniata Valley will not be defending the district title they won in each of the last three years. The Green Hornets also won’t be back in the PIAA state championship tournament.
District 6-A semifinal action on Friday saw the end of a great run in recent years by Juniata Valley. Saint Joseph’s shut down the Green Hornet offense and took a 7-0 decision.
The Wolves move to the district championship game and will face Homer-Center next week. The Wildcats beat Claysburg-Kimmel, 6-3, in the other semifinal game.
“I’m really proud of the kids and the way they battled. They had two good innings and we left some guys on base,” Juniata Valley coach Don Price said after his team ended the year with a 13-5 mark.
The Wolves capitalized on their scoring opportunities with seven runs on seven hits. A four-run third gave them a 6-0 lead.
“They had some timely hits,” noted Price.
Bryce Herman and Ben Macafee gave the Wolves strong pitching in shutting out Juniata Valley (13-5) on four hits. Herman pitched four innings for the win.
Quinn Zinobile (5-3) took the complete-game loss for the Hornets. He allowed seven hits, two walks, and struck out seven. Zinobile was also one for two to finish the year with a .500 batting average. There were only three games where he did not have a hit.
The Hornets put two men on in the first with one out when Gabe Brower walked and Jacob Hensor was hit with a pitch, but were unable to score.
Saint Joseph’s scored twice in its first trip to the plate with just one hit. A walk, single by Jack Mangene, and wild pitch moved them into scoring position. Macafee then hit a sacrifice fly. Zinobile walked another before fanning two to end the frame.
The Wolves did their damage in the third, and with two outs. Dylan Broderick doubled to left to score one run, then Cole Bernier lined a shot to center. Seth Derugen went for the diving catch but didn’t make it. One run scored on the two-base hit.
Cam Burris followed with a two-run homer down the leftfield line to make the score 6-0.
Juniata Valley tried to rally in the fourth. Zinobile walked and Jay Max Hurley singled through the right side of the infield. After two out, Caden Rupert walked but Jack Johnson struck out to end the inning.
Zinobile retired seven in a row to keep the Hornets in the game. Valley was unable to get anything going though.
Zane Thompson added a run-scoring single for the Wolves in the sixth.
Alec Hess doubled to lead off the seventh for the Hornets. Derugen reached when strike three went to the backstop, but a ground ball to short ended the game and the season for the locals.
“It’s hard to say good bye to the seniors after the run they had. It hurts now but when they reflect back on the career they had they can be nothing but proud,” commented Price.
The Hornet seniors leave the program with a four-year record of 65-23, including the most wins in a season (19 in 2017), three district titles and four appearances in the PIAA state championship tournament.
JUNIATA VALLEY (0): Derugen cf 400, Brower rf-lf 300, Hensor ss 200, Zinobile p 201, D. Richner lf 100, Hurley rf 201, N. Richner 1b 301, Hess c 301, Rupert 2b 000, Wilson ph 100, Johnson 3b 200, Showalter ph 100. Totals — 24-0-4.
Saint JOSEPH’S (7): Nungesser rf 221 Mangene ss 211, Macafee 1b-p 200, Broderick c 211, Bernier 3b 322, Burris lf 311, Herman p-1b 300, Thornburg cf 301, Steyers 2b 300. Totals — 23-7-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Juniata Valley 000 000 0–0 4 0
Saint Joseph’s 204 001 X–7 7 1
E–Macafee. 2B–Hess, Broderick, Bernier. HR–Burris.
Juniata Valley: Zinobile (LP)–6 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7ER, 7 SO, 2 BB.
Saint Joseph’s: Herman (WP)–4IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 SO, 3 BB; Macafee–3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 SO, 0 BB.