One of the happiest onlookers at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Monday afternoon was Mount Aloysius College baseball coach Kevin Kime.
Two of Kime's recruits, Jesse Bortner and Brock Gladfelter, accounted for seven RBIs as West York blanked Hollidaysburg, 10-0, in five innings in a PIAA Class AAA first-round playoff game.
West York catcher Bortner crushed a three-run homer in the second inning and added a fourth RBI on an infield groundout in the fifth. Second baseman Gladfelter squeezed in one of the Bulldogs' three runs in the second inning and capped the mercy-rule win with a two-run single in the fifth.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Hollidaysburg catcher Reid Miller waits on a throw to the plate as West?York’s Cole Bixler slides in safely in the fourth inning.
An infield error, on a potential inning-ending double play, opened the door for West York, District 3's third-place finisher, to score three times in the second and cruise to its 21st win in 25 games.
"West York is a very good team," Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said. "[To] give them a second chance is a tough thing. They took advantage of the error, and then the old three-run homer will kill you every time."
Hollidaysburg starter Dominic Viduya struck out the side in the first, but the Tiger lefty unraveled in the second when he was victimized by the miscue.
"I thought Viduya was throwing the ball pretty well early," Szynal said, "and could have possibly been out of the [second] inning, but that's the way it goes. Give them credit for putting the ball in play."
West York starter Kaden Hepler was tough on the Tigers, giving up only one hit - a misjudged pop fly that turned into a double for Tanner Claar in the bottom of the first. Hepler struck out six, walked just one and retired the last 11 batters he faced.
"His [Hepler] numbers are outstanding," Szynal noted, "and he showed why his numbers back that up. He had command of three pitches and working with a lead makes it easier."
West York coach Roger Czerwinski was happy.
"It's been awhile since we swung the bats and hit the ball like we did today," Czerwinski said. "We run a lot and we bunt a lot. We don't rely on the long ball, but he [Bortner] got into that one."
"I didn't go up trying to hit a homer," Bortner said. "I just put a good swing on the ball and it went out."
As for Hepler, who will play at Winthrop College in South Carolina, Czerwinski noted: "He's done a nice job for us all season. He's 11-0 and has over 300 strikeouts."
The Tigers finished their season with a 14-9 record and the District 6-AAA title.
"We don't want to judge [season] on this last one," Szynal said. "We had a really good season. It started out pretty slow but we worked ourselves into a pretty good team.
"All of our pitchers are underclassmen and we look forward to them being back," he said. "The seniors had an outstanding four years and they'll really be missed."
WEST YORK (10): Toomey cf 400, Rauhauser lf 311. Bra. Kinnemen 1b 221, Fries 3b 300, Bortner c 312, Bre. Kinnemen cr-rf 010, Hepler p 221 Bixler dh 221, Wetzell 2b 000, James rf 211, Prego p 000, Gladfelter ss 201. Totals - 23-10-8.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (0): Claar cf 301, Burger 3b-ss 300, Hileman ss-p 100, Viduya p 000, Crum dh 100, E. Miller 3b 100, Storm 2b 200, Ford 1b 201, R. Miller c 201, Russell lf 100, Sell ph 100, Gallagher rf 100. Totals - 18-0-3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
West York033 04X X-10 8 0
Hollidaysburg000 00X X-0 3 1
E-Hileman. 2B-Claar, R. Miller,. 3B-Bra. Kinnemen. HR-Bortner. RBI-Bortner 4, Gladfelter 3, James, Bixler. WP-Hileman 3. Balk - Viduya. SB- Hepler, Bixler, Rauhauser, Bra. Kinnemen. Sac - Gladfelter.
Hollidaysburg IP H R ER SO BB
Viduya (L) 2.1 6 6 4 5 1
Hileman 2.2 2 4 4 5 3
Hepler (W) 4 1 0 0 7 1
Prego 1 2 0 0 0 1
Umpires: Steve Oakes (P), Larry Stitt (1st), Dave Adams (2nd), Joe Bidoli Jr. (3rd).
Records: West York (21-4); Hollidaysburg (14-9).