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Rangers weather the storm to defeat Marauders

By Michael Boytim

mboytim@altoonamirror.com

Fans willing to sit through off and on rain, hail, dangerously high winds and a constantly dropping temperature got to see a spectacular pitchers’ duel between the top hurlers for the current District 6 Class 2A and 3A top seeds in high school baseball at Vets Field on Friday.

After five scoreless innings, Forest Hills finally broke the ice in the sixth inning with a three-run outburst to top Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 3-0.

Rangers starter Zach Myers was pulled one batter from finishing the complete game shutout due to reaching 100 pitches. Marauders starter Austin Lewis went six innings, struck out seven and allowed just six hits to Forest Hills, which improved to 12-0.

“That’s their best, and Austin is our best,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Tommy Williams said. “I told these guys, this was going to be like a playoff atmosphere. We always have good games against these guys, and sometimes it comes down to error-free baseball, putting a couple hits and walks together and that’s what they did today.”

Forest Hills is currently the top seed in a stacked District 6 Class 3A field that includes Central, Tyrone, Philipsburg-Osceola, Central Cambria and Bellwood-Antis. The Marauders are now tied with Southern Huntingdon as the top seed in Class 2A at 8-4.

“Zach Myers is 6-0 now, and Austin is a really good pitcher who beat us two years ago,” Forest Hills coach Joe Carpenter said. “It was just a pitcher’s duel, and we were fortunate to break through. We had a couple innings where we almost did, but we finally got some across.”

Myers was off his game early and walked the first two batters he faced before getting Lewis to fly out and striking out the next two batters. Bishop Guilfoyle put runners at first and third with two outs in the fourth inning and managed to get runners and second and third with just one out in the fifth inning, but Myers got out of both jams.

“He seems to become super focused with runners on,” Carpenter said. “He hits his spots, and he’s been doing that all year. I have been coaching a long time, but this has been one of the best seasons I have seen from a pitcher.”

Williams said it’s something his team will have to clean up before the postseason.

“We missed an opportunity there and in the first inning,” Williams said. “We have been trying to work on situational hitting and situational baseball where we need to score a run or bring in a runner from second base without actually getting a hit. When you go into the District 6 playoffs, that’s what you’re going to have to do. We’re going to run into pitchers like this. We might only get two hits in a game, but we have to win it somehow.”

It was Myers himself that finally scored the first run when he led off the top of the sixth inning with a single and scored on Brad Madigan’s double. Kirk Bearjar drew a walk, and Forest Hills scored two more runs when Devin Kreger singled home a run, and another scored when he was tagged out after a rundown trying to get to second.

“It’s been a team effort,” Carpenter said. “We start six sophomores, which are really six freshmen since we didn’t have a season last year due to COVID. Every game, they are doing above and beyond what even we as coaches thought they were capable of at 12-0.”

Myers said facing off against Lewis helped keep him on top of his game.

“It definitely got me psyched up,” Myers said. “Austin is a great pitcher. He did everything he could for his team today. He’s a great pitcher to go up against, and it was a great game to watch, I’d imagine.”

Bishop Guilfoyle will play four Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference road games next week, something Williams thinks will continue to help them win or lose.

“The Laurel Highlands makes us better,” Williams said. “It’s a couple 2A teams, a lot of 3A teams and a couple 4A teams. I love our program being in the Laurel Highlands, because we see bigger schools that make us better competing against them. And next year, you add Central to that (when the Dragons officially leave the Mountain League for the LHAC), which will make it even better.”

FOREST HILLS (3): Roberts ss 401, Myers p-2b 411, Madigan cf 311, Cornell 3b 300, Bearjar 1b 200, Maul pr 010, Williamson c 301, Vranich rf 000, Kreger dh 302, Burda 2b-p 200, Rearick lf 101. Totals –25-3-7.

BISHOP GUILFOYLE (0): Rother ss 300, Boston c 301, Siford cr 000, Lewis p-3b 201, Beauchamp 2b 300, Dombrosky 3b-p 300, DeGennaro 1b 000, McNelly dh 301, Wyandt lf 000, Negola cf 302, Harbaugh rf 200, Hamel ph 100. Totals –26-0-5.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Forest Hills 000 003 0–3 7 0

Bishop Guilfoyle 000 000 0–0 5 1

E–DeGennaro. 2B–McNelly, Madigan. RBI–Madigan, Kreger.

PITCHING

Forest Hills: Myers (W)–6ªIP, 5H, 3BB, 8K, 0R, 0ER, 100 pitches; BurdaѥIP, 0H, 0BB, 0K, 0R, 0ER, 5 pitches.

Bishop Guilfoyle: Lewis (L)–6IP, 6H, 3BB, 1HBP, 7K, 3R, 3ER, 103 pitches; Dombrosky–1IP, 1H, 2BB, 3K, 0R, 0ER, 21 pitches.

Records: Forest Hills (12-0); Bishop Guilfoyle (8-4).

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