Martinez spurs Locker Room

Jonny Martinez loves the game of baseball.

Now 29 years old, Martinez, who lives in Huntingdon, has been playing ball in the Altoona area since he was 17.

Martinez smacked a home run in Locker Room’s 5-3 first-round Greater City League playoff win over BMG Construction on Saturday afternoon at Vets Field.

“I love it,” Martinez said of playing in the GCBL. “Every year, I say ‘that’s it,’ but when next year comes around, I can’t stay away.

“It’s not too bad of a drive,” he said of the trip from Huntingdon. “It’s a short shot, so I keep doing it.”

A native of Mount Union, Martinez played for Johnston Realty in the Altoona AAABA League when he was 17. After AAABA, Martinez joined the City League and has been playing here ever since. He’s been with Locker Room the past four years.

“I graduated from Mount Union and went to Juniata College to play basketball,” he noted. “I ended up playing baseball instead and then played some in the Australian Baseball League.”

Martinez owns the Pro Care Fitness Center in Huntingdon and also is an assistant baseball coach under Tom Gibboney at Juniata College.

“It’s enjoyable,” Martinez said of his work. “I get to train a lot of young athletes and we’ve got a lot of good kids coming through Huntingdon right now.”

He’s also enjoying his time with the Locker Room team, which won the Greater City League championship in 2017 and is hoping to repeat.

Saturday’s win over BMG Construction was the first time the team played in almost two weeks. Locker Room was 19-2 in the regular season and Lilly was 20-3, but LR got the top seed based on winning percentage.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re seeded one or four,” said Martinez, who plays first base and center field. “We’re all on the same level now. Plus, nobody’s played in two weeks.”

BMG, the No. 4 seed, scored in the top of the first inning but Locker Room tied it in the second and took a 3-1 lead with a pair of runs in the third. Martinez lined a homer over the right field fence leading off the fourth — “I got a good swing on one,” Martinez said — and Matt Hershey singled in another for a 5-1 advantage.

After BMG tallied twice in the sixth to cut the deficit to 5-3, Locker Room turned to Andy Lytle, who struck out the side in the seventh to earn the save.

“It’s been 10 or 12 days since we played,” LR manager R.J. Barnard said. “Every day this week was a wash and we showed a little rust early today. Plus, we struggle against some of the slower pitching. Most of our guys have played college ball and are used to a little more velocity.

“But, these guys (BMG) are scrappy and will battle us,” Barnard noted. “Our goal is to get through this series, not use too many arms and stay fresh for the championship series.”

Cam Kyle pitched the first four innings and earned the win, giving up just one run and one hit while fanning five. Brendan Hileman pitched two frames before turning it over to Lytle.

Game notes: Mason Hershey, Matt Hershey, Steve Shiffler and Lytle all had two hits for Locker Room. … Rick Ball had two hits for BMG and Julius Niemand had two RBIs. … Game 2 will be played today at 4 p.m. at Vets.

BMG CONSTRUCTION (3): Watt ss 121, Patterson rf-lf 200, Ball lf-p 312, Niemand dh 301, Fesko rf-3b 000, Maul 2b-3b 300, Mardula lf-c 300, Dicken p 100, Smick 1b 200, Durbin lb-2b 300, Madigan cf 300. Totals — 24-3-4.

LOCKER ROOM (5): Martinez cfp1b 311, Stiffler ss 311, Mas. Hershey c 302, Matt Hershey rf 312, Creppage 3b 400, Hileman 2b-p-2b 300, Lytle 1b-p 322, Shiffler lf 302, Kyle p 000, Weibley dh-2b-cf 300. Totals — 28-5-10.

SCORE BY INNINGS

BMG Construction 100 002 0–3 4 0

Locker Room 012 200 x–5 10 1

E–Mason Hershey. 2B–Lytle, Niemand. HR–Martinez. RBI–Martinez, Stiffler, Matt Hershey, Lytle, Shiffler, Niemand 2, Ball. SB–Watt. SAC–Patterson. WP–Kyle. LP–Dicken. SV– Lytle. SO–Dicken 1, Ball 2, Kyle 5, Hileman 2, Lytle 3. BB–Dicken 2, Ball 2, Kyle 2, Hileman 0, Lytle 0. Umpires–Jay Negri (plate), Matt Cursio (bases).

Records: Locker Room leads best-of-three series, 1-0.

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