The Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers haven't won the championship of the Curve Classic since 2005, but they hope to change things Sunday.
Following a first-round win over Indiana on Friday, the Golden Tigers exploded for a 16-4 semifinal victory over Claysburg-Kimmel on Saturday afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Tigers will face newcomer Bellwood-Antis in today's title game at 1 p.m. at PNG Field. The Blue Devils knocked off six-time champion Altoona, 6-4, in the other semi.
"Every year we play in this tournament we like to take one game at a time," Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said. "You always like to think you can make it to the finals, get to Sunday and anything can happen."
The Tigers dominated from start to finish against C-K, exploding for six runs in the first inning and then adding 2, 4, 1 and 3 to finish off the Bulldogs in a five-inning mercy rule contest.
"To have a big inning like that is always a bonus," Szynal said of his team's fast start. "We scored two in the first yesterday [Friday against Indiana], and when you put up a big number like that, it takes a little bit [pressure] off your pitcher.
"He [sophomore starter Jordan McCall] didn't have his best stuff today," Szynal noted, "but he stayed out of the big inning, which was good for him, and then Corey Sell came in and threw a lot of strikes and put together some nice innings."
Szynal couldn't have asked for much more offensively than the Tigers gave him. All nine starters hit safely as the Tigers collected 15 hits off two C-K pitchers.
Trent Sipes and Brett Hileman each had two singles and a double and both scored three runs. McCall and Thayne Russell had two hits apiece while Andy Crum and Luke Glass had three RBIs each.
"This being our second game, I thought some of our at-bats were better than yesterday, as far as being patient and seeing some pitches," Szynal said. "Guys had more quality at-bats."
Hileman, who is expected to be one of the Tigers' leaders, said the first inning was key.
"It really lifted us up," Hileman said. "It's only our second game and we were all pretty tense, so it was good."
Reaching the finals also was big, according to Hileman.
"It feels pretty good," Hileman said. "We're working hard and come every day with the same mentality. My goal is to help make all of my teammates better, and that will just make the team better."
C-K coach Justin Harris was disappointed with his team's performance after beating Bishop Guilfoyle, 3-2, Friday.
"To spot a team like that six runs ... there's not a whole lot you can do," Harris said. "Plus, you can't make seven errors. They're a good team so you've got to make every play, and we didn't make very many today."
HOLLIDAYSBURG (16): Claar cf 421, Sipes 2b 433, Hileman ss 433, Crum 1b-2b 311, Miller 3b-1b 321, Springer 1b 000, McCall p-3b 312, Fluke cr-ph 110, Glass dh 411, Hilling c 000, Sell rf-p 311, Russell lf 412. Totals - 33-16-15.
CLAYSBURG-KIMMEL (4): Claar cf 302, Cox ss-p 311, Strayer p-ss 100, Mock cr 000, Weyandt cf 301, Knisely 3b 300, Helsel c 210, Fickes lf 210, Musselman 2b 212, Repko rf 100. Totals -20-4-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Hollidaysburg624 13X X-16 15 0
Claysburg-Kimmel121 00X X- 4 6 7
E-Repko 2, Musselman 2, Fickes, Helsel, Weyandt. 2B-Cox, Sipes, Hileman. 3B-Glass. RBI-Crum 3, Glass 3, Russell 2, Sipes, Miller, McCall, Sell, Claar, Weyandt, Musselman. WP-Sell. LP-Strayer. SO-Cox 3, McCall 2, Sell 1. BB-Strayer 1, McCall 4.
Umpires: Jim Klausman (plate), John Garritano (bases).
Records: Hollidaysburg (2-0); Claysburg-Kimmel (2-1).