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Mtn. Lions enjoy Curve Classic opener, play Tyrone next

04/09/21 Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski / Altoona on-deck batter Lucas Muffie (left) and Aidan Steinbugl tap batting helmets after Steinbugl had scored in the 1st inning against Huntingdon.

Scoring 10 runs in an inning is a huge accomplishment for any high school baseball team.

To do it in the first inning of a Curve Classic quarterfinal game is even bigger.

Altoona never allowed Huntingdon starter Josh Hollibaugh the chance to settle in, and everyone in the starting lineup either had a hit or scored a run the first time through the order in the Mountain Lions’ 17-0 three-inning win over the Bearcats Friday at PNG Field.

Altoona was able to remove starting pitcher Erik Rhodes from the game after just one inning and 12 pitches and seemingly is in a great position with its pitching depth for the rest of the tournament which will continue at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s huge (taking a big early lead), because we were able to get our pitcher out of the game, and he says he’s good to go for tomorrow,” Altoona coach Tom Smith said. “We’ll see about that, but we’re facing a tough team in Tyrone. Any time you can shorten a game pitching wise is huge.”

Tyreke Green had two hits, drove in two runs and scored three more for the Mountain Lions. Matt Moyer had a pair of hits and scored twice, and Aidan Steinbugl drove in three runs and scored three times after a hit, a walk and a hit by pitch.

“We were disciplined at the plate,” Smith said. “A couple guys took walks and a couple guys smacked the ball. You throw 10 up in the first inning, and it’s pretty deflating for the other team and just pumps us up even more before they even had a chance to get in the game.”

Altoona went ahead, 16-0, in just the second inning and was able to substitute for each player in the lineup and get some younger players a chance to experience playing at PNG Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A affiliate the Altoona Curve.

“It’s great to see so many people get on the field, and between today and tomorrow we hope to get everyone out there,” Smith said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Huntingdon is in a rebuilding phase after a very solid run and several state playoff appearances the past decade. Brady Handy had the Bearcats’ lone hit, a double that bounced on the warning track.

“It’s a good experience for the kids,” Huntingdon coach Butch Woodward said. “The result wasn’t good, but it’s a good experience for the kids to get to play on a nice field like this.

“We’re young, and we’re trying to put together a nucleus and see what works. We have to play as a team and limit our mistakes, but as a whole we need to develop. We knew we were going to take some bumps this year, but we’ve got to build for next year and the year after that.”

The Mountain Lions, who have shut out both of their opponents this season and outscored them, 24-0, will play a 3-1 Tyrone team coming off a victory over Central on Thursday.

“Tyrone is flying pretty high right now, and I think that will be a good test for us tomorrow,” Smith said. “Then, we have a big week with games Tuesday and Thursday and Hollidaysburg on Saturday. So, we’ll take a win any time we can get it. Our schedule is pretty tough.”

ALTOONA (17): Green cf 232, Eberhart ph 100, Steinbugl ss 131, Weyandt ss 100, Day rf 221, Sanders rf 100, Manley 1b 312, Geibel ph 100, Muffie 2b 211, Hileman cr-ph 120, Yost lf 000, Wilson dh 201, Rhodes p 201, Rossman p 101, Moyer 3b 222, Folcarelli ph 100, Carothers c 000, Bettwy cr-ph 131. Totals — 24-17-13.

HUNTINGDON (0): Hack ss 200, Safko 2b 100, Handy c 101, Patterson cr 000, Cook rf 100, Bryson 1b 100, Wagner cf 000, Marshall dh 100, Hollibaugh p 000, Gutshall p 000, Miller p 100, Sheffield 3b 100, Foster lf 100. Totals — 10-0-1.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Altoona (10)61 XXX X — 17 13 0

Huntingdon 000 XXX X — 0 1 3

E–Safko, Wagner, Hack. 2B–Muffie, Rhodes, Moyer, Handy. RBI–Steinbugl 3, Green 2, Wilson 2, Rossman 2, Moyer, Yost, Muffie, Day, Eberhart.

PITCHING

Altoona: Rhodes–1IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB, 12 pitches. Rossman (W)–2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1K, 0BB, 25 pitches.

Huntingdon: Hollibaugh (L)–1/3IP, 8H, 10R, 9ER, 0K, 2BB, 43 pitches. Gutshall–2/3IP, 3H, 5R, 5ER, 1K, 2BB, 36 pitches. Miller–2IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2K, 2BB, 43 pitches.

Records: Altoona (2-0); Huntingdon (0-4)

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