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Big bats put Tigers into semifinals

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Hollidaysburg’s Joe Bukosky slides into third with a triple as Portage’s Isaac Jubina waits for the ball to arrive.

Hollidaysburg played an error-free game in an 18-3 triumph over Portage Friday in the quarterfinals of the Altoona Curve Classic at PNG Field.

Well, unless you can give an error to a coach.

The game was delayed slightly in the bottom of the fifth inning when Golden Tigers coach Jon Szynal attempted to switch pitchers from Evan Shale to Alan Wedel with two outs and Hollidaysburg ahead, 11-3.

Wedel came in from the bullpen and began throwing his warmup pitches as Szynal talked with Hollidaysburg third baseman Caleb Jandora and began to walk toward the umpires to inform them of the changes. That’s when Wedel had to return to the dugout.

“I simply forgot to write him on the lineup card,” Szynal said. “I have been coaching 25 years, and this is the first time that’s ever happened. When I went to the umpire to make a switch, I didn’t see his name, and that’s what caught my attention. It’s my mistake. I take full blame for it. I feel bad for the kid, but it’s only our second game. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of playing time this year.”

Instead, Jandora took the mound and struck out the only batter he faced to end the inning. Hollidaysburg scored seven runs in the top of the sixth inning to end the game via the 15-run mercy rule.

“It’s kind of ironic, because I was talking to him at third base, and told him with our schedule coming up and all the games we have in the next four or five days, I told him he was probably going to have to pitch,” Szynal said. “He didn’t think it was going to be in five minutes. He didn’t think it was going to happen that quick, but he told me he’d throw strikes for me, and that’s what he did.”

Other than the lineup card snafu, the day went pretty well for Hollidaysburg, which will play Bishop Guilfoyle in the semifinals back at PNG Field on Saturday.

Zach Miller had four hits, drove in three runs and scored three more, Austin Estep had four RBIs, and Zach Barton and Tyler Faber each had two hits and three RBIs. Hollidaysburg also worked 12 walks from Portage pitchers.

“Our guys know they may have to draw a walk and that they won’t get their pitch every time,” Szynal said. “They stayed back and when they did get a pitch, they hit it hard.”

Caleb Gampe pitched three perfect innings and struck out the side in the second inning before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth and being replaced by Shale.

“He’s been coming off some injuries, and we’re working him back in increments,” Szynal said. “He had a real good outing the other day, and he had a nice outing today. We’re trying to build him up.”

The Mustangs got a triple from Kaden Claar, and Andrew Miko, Josh Morgan and Tyler Alexander all drove in runs.

“I like the way our kids hung in there, and they did some good things in the first two or three innings against a very good arm,” Portage coach Larry McCabe said. “It’s one of those days where we have to be ready to play a second game, so we needed to make sure we were going to have enough arms ready to pitch. That’s a good ball club, and I think we’re a good club, too.”

The veteran coach said playing up against larger schools and tough pitching will help Portage later this season.

“I think it helps going up there and hitting the ball hard against a good pitcher like that,” McCabe said. “It can help us going forward.”

HOLLIDAYSBURG (18): Barton lf 522, Martellacci cf 231, Gampe p-1b 210, Evans cr 010, Estep c 402, Stevenson cr 010, Miller 2b 534, Faber 1b-rf 422, Grassi rf 311, Shale p-3b 111, Jandora 3b-p 402, Bukosky ss 221, Perry ph 100. Totals — 33-18-16.

PORTAGE (3): Miko cf 300, Claar 2b-p 311, Kozlovac ss 110, Morgan 1b 100, Irvin c 000, Alexander dh 100, K. Kargo rf-p-rf 200, Zatek lf 211, Moore p 000, M. Kargo rf-2b 200, Jubina 3b 201. Totals — 18-3-4.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Hollidaysburg …..105 147 X — 18 16 0

Portage ……………000 21X X — 3 4 3

E–Irvin, Zatek, Claar. 2B–Faber, Shale. 3B–Miller, Bukosky, Claar. RBI–Estep 4, Miller 3, Barton 3, Faber 3, Grassi, Shale, Jandora, Perry, Miko, Morgan, Alexander.

PITCHING

Hollidaysburg: Gampe–3 1/3IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 4K, 1BB, 54 pitches. Shale (W)–1 1/3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 0BB, 21 pitches. Jandora–1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB, 5 pitches.

Portage: Moore (L)–2IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 0K, 1BB, 33 pitches. K. Kargo–2 2/3IP, 6H, 10R, 9ER, 1K, 9BB, 103 pitches. Claar–1IP, 5H, 7R, 5ER, 0K, 2BB, 38 pitches.

Records: Portage (4-2); Hollidaysburg (2-0)

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