A Classic duel: Yon pitches Altoona over Luensmann, B-A
The 15th annual Curve Classic kicked off with a premier pitching matchup.
Altoona’s Ian Yon and Bellwood-Antis’ Travis Luensmann were both Altoona Mirror first-team all-stars as underclassmen last year, and they each toed the rubber for their respective teams Thursday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Yon got the better of the pitching duel, going six shutout innings and allowing just four hits, in Altoona’s 5-0 first-round victory.
“Ian had a gutsy effort,” Altoona coach Tom Smith said. “He threw a lot of pitches, and we’re trying to get him to pound the strike zone a little more. It’s early, but we know he’ll give us a solid effort every time on the mound. That’s why he’s our No. 1. When we give him the ball, we expect to be in every game.”
A year ago, Yon finished 2-0 with a 1.81 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 31 innings. Luensmann was 6-2 with an 0.96 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 51 innings.
Yon, who has pitched in the Curve Classic before, didn’t let playing on a professional field bother him.
“I don’t feel scared on the mound,” Yon said. “I know I have a great team behind me. I just try to throw strikes and depend on my team behind me.”
Luensmann allowed just four hits in five innings but struggled with his control in the second inning, leading to three runs for the Mountain Lions.
Marcus Day led off with a single, Brendan Kuhns walked and Cody Becker was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.
Owen Kravetz brought home the first run by drawing a bases-loaded walk, and Matt Hartman followed with a bloop single to right that scored two more.
“He just put the bat on the ball, and on a big field like that, it can fall,” Bellwood-Antis coach Steve Conlon said. “(Luensmann) got a little out of control where he hit a guy and didn’t get a call on a check swing. Give Hartman credit, he got a bat on the ball and it fell. That’s baseball, I guess.”
Hartman finished 2-for-4 with the two RBIs and four stolen bases. Though the Slippery Rock commit had the big hit, Smith credited his bottom of the lineup for their productive at bats.
“We figured it would be a low-scoring game, and we knew we’d have to manufacture some runs,” Smith said. “Matt Hartman got the big hit, but the guys at the bottom of the lineup found a way to get on base and kept the inning alive.”
Hartman and Yon are part of a solid Altoona senior class that is expecting big things this year.
“We have been playing together for 12 years in different leagues,” Yon said. “We’ve come together as a team, and we feel like our class is one of the best around.”
No one on Bellwood-Antis had more than one hit, but leadoff man John Kost singled and walked, and Cooper Guyer doubled in the seventh inning.
Conlon was happy with the experience his team got from playing a school in a higher classification.
“Anytime you can run a quality pitcher like Travis out against good competition, it only helps us,” Conlon said. “The ICC has good baseball, but we’re not playing 6A competition. For him to go out there against Altoona and throw well is good for us.
“After 90-some pitches, he was still throwing 90 (miles per hour). It was a good matchup and a good game.”
Becker finished 2-for-2 and reached base in all three of hits at bats from the ninth spot in the batting order for the Mountain Lions, but he was stranded in scoring position twice.
“Two good pitchers,” Smith said. “Their kid is pretty good. We really had to manufacture today. He was still throwing hard toward the end. We could have broken it open, but he got some big hitters out with a guy on third.”
BELLWOOD-ANTIS (0): Kost cf 201, Stewart ss 300, T. Luensmann p-2b 301, Plank c 301, Gibbons cr 000, Walker 1b 200, Whaley rf 300, J. Luensmann 3b 300, Barr 2b 000, Guyer dh 301, Nagle p 000, Dorminy lf 301. Totals — 25-0-5
ALTOONA (5): Kravetz lf 200, Hartman ss 402, Yon p-3b 400, Hunter c 300, Day rf 311, Sinisi 3b-p 311, Kuhns cf 221, Saylor 1b 000, Moyer dh 200, Becker 2b 212. Totals — 25-5-7
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bellwood-Antis 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
Altoona 030 002 X — 5 7 2
E–Hartman, Sinisi. 2B–Guyer, Sinisi. RBI–Kravetz 2, Hartman 2, Kuhns. SB–Hartman 4, Day, Kuhns, Becker.
Bellwood-Antis: T. Luensmann (L) — 5IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 8K, 2BB, 2HBP, 93 pitches; Nagle — 1IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, 1K, 0BB, 1HBP
Altoona: Yon (W) — 6IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 7K, 2BB, 94 pitches; Sinisi — 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0K, 0BB, 13 pitches.
Umpires: Steve Oakes (HP); Bill Straesser (bases)
Records: Bellwood-Antis (3-3); Altoona (2-2).