Lilly romps in opener
Defending Greater City Baseball League champion Lilly Conrad Chiropractic/American Legion has a juggernaut of a batting lineup in its own right.
Lilly’s potent offense is quite capable of scoring a lot of runs with its bats. When it gets help from an opponent through walks and errors, a game can get out of hand in a hurry.
That’s what happened in the opening game of the GCBL’s best-of-five championship series Friday night at Vets Field, as Lilly bunched 11 hits and benefited from nine walks to score an 11-1, five-inning mercy-rule victory over Blair County Oil.
Game 2 is set for Saturday at 5 at Vets.
Lilly collected four hits and capitalized on five walks to score seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, busting open what had been a close game and walking off with the mercy-rule win.
“When you give up walks and they get hits behind the walks, that’s what happens,” Blair County Oil manager Dale Snyder said. “We actually played pretty well until that last inning, then our pitching didn’t hold up and the game got away from us.”
Leading 4-1, Lilly sent 11 runners to the plate in the big fifth inning. Player-manager Lucas McCoy started the rally with a double to left field against Blair County Oil starting right-hander Nick Lytle. One out later, left fielder Josh Bracken singled to left field, sending McCoy to third, and pinch-hitter Matt Minor walked to load the bases.
Right-hander Tyler Sweeney was brought in to pitch, and issued successive bases-loaded walks to center fielder Brent Matish, designated hitter Cody Gallaher and second baseman Brandon Ickes as McCoy, Bracken and Minor all scored.
A wild pitch allowed Matish to score from third base and moved Gallaher and Ickes both up a base. After Sweeney walked first baseman George Roberts to load the bases, Sal Paniagua was summoned to the mound to pitch to third baseman Landon Sinclair, whose single to right field scored Gallaher and kept the bases loaded.
Brock Porter, in a pinch-hitter’s role, singled to center to score Ickes, and catcher Pat Gully’s groundout scored Roberts from third with the clinching run for Lilly.
Ickes drove in three runs with two hits, and Sinclair drove in three with a single, sacrifice fly and outfield fielders choice for Lilly, which got complete-game pitching from right-hander Aaron Smith, who allowed only one run in five innings while permitting six hits.
“We cashed in during the last inning,” McCoy said. “We got into their bullpen, we lumped a lot of hits together, and we had a couple of bases-loaded walks, too.”
An RBI single by Paniagua gave BCO a lead in the top of the first inning, but Lilly responded with a run in the bottom of the first on Sinclair’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly, and went up, 2-1 in the bottom of the third when Gallaher singled and scored from second base on Sinclair’s one-hopper to right field that was turned into a forceout.
Lilly added two runs on the strength of five hits in the fourth inning, with a two-run, bases-loaded single by Ickes the key blow.
“At the end of the day, this is just one game,” McCoy said. “We still need two more wins. It’s a fresh slate (Saturday). We’ll just try to build on what we did today.”
BLAIR COUNTY OIL (1): Wyandt 2b 200, Foose 3b-rf 312, Steffey lf 300, Paniagua dh-3b-p 201, Conrad c 200, Saxman 1b 201, Sweeney rf-p-3b 200, Stewart ss 202, Kawtoski cf 200, Lytle p 000. Totals –20-1-6.
LILLY CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC AMERICAN LEGION (11): Matish cf 220, Gallaher dh 222, Ickes 2b 312, Roberts 1b 211, Sinclair 3b 301, L. McCoy ss 211, Porter ph 101, Gully c 411, Bracken lf 322, Kravetz rf 200, Minor ph 010. Totals –24-11-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Blair County Oil 100 00X X– 1 6 0
Lilly Conrad 101 27X X–11 11 1
E–L. McCoy. 2B–Foose, L. McCoy. RBI–Ickes 3, Sinclair 3, Matish, Gallaher, Porter, Gully. SB–Bracken. SF–Sinclair. DP–Lilly Conrad turned 2 (Both Sinclair to Ickes to Roberts). LOB–Lilly Conrad Chiropractic American Legion 9, Blair County Oil 5.
BLAIR COUNTY OIL: Lytle (L) 4•IP, 9H, 7R, 7ER, 5BB, 1SO; Sweeney 4 batters, 0H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, 0SO; Paniagua •IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO.
LILLY CONRAD: Smith (W) 5IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1SO.
Umpires: Jay Negri (plate); Gary Stitt (1b); Jonathan Smith (3b).