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Cumming Motors scores 4 runs late in victory

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski Cumming Motors starter Dylan Gearhart.

By Jim Lane

For the Mirror

CRESSON — Cumming Motors of Altoona got off to a solid start in the 76th annual AAABA National Tournament by knocking off Buffalo All In Sports on Monday.

“Winning the first game is always big,” Cumming manager Chris Sanders said, with a smile, after his club posted a 6-3 victory at Mount Aloysius College field.

“Their pitcher did a good job and (Dylan) Gearhart was phenomenal,” Sanders said of his hurler. “He’s a gamer, he didn’t get down all year.”

Gearhart, a big right-hander from Mount Union, pitched six strong innings before giving way to Seth Smith, the eventual winner.

“This is Smith’s home field (he attends Mount Aloysius) so I was confident in making the switch to him,” Sanders said.

Smith, a lefty, pitched the last two innings for Cumming.

Hunter Klotz (a double) and Kevin Lehner (a single) contributed first-inning RBIs as Cumming jumped out to a 2-0 lead. It stayed 2-0 until each team scored a run in the seventh.

Buffalo pushed over two runs in the eighth to grab a 3-2 advantage, but Cumming’s Jake Hillard stole home on a delayed steal to even it up at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh.

“Our catcher (Chris VanCheri) kinda double-clutched his throw to second and that hurt,”Buffalo manager Tony Ballistrea said later. “That’s a play we normally make, but not today.”

“I was surprised when they threw the ball (to second),” Hillard said. “When I saw it go through, I just took off for home.”

Cumming scored three times in the eighth to pull out the win. Corey Chamberlain tripled and scored on a hit by Drew Weglarz to make it 4-3. Hits by Mike Turiano and Hillard sealed the deal for Cumming.

Weglarz, who lives in Huntingdon, is a AAABA veteran, having played two years for Johnston Realty before switching to Cumming this season.

Cumming (1-0) will face Carpenter Capital Advisors of Johnstown tonight at 7 p.m. at Point Stadium. On Wednesday. Cumming plays New Brunswick at noon at Mount Aloysius.

Altoona’s other entry, Johnston Realty, plays Zanesville today at noon at Mount Aloysius College. Johnston lost its opener to the Philadelphia Bandits.

All teams are guaranteed three games in this year’s tournament.

BUFFALO (3): Phillips cf 413, Stellrecht ss 401, Floccare 3b 502, Borrello 1b 400, VanCheri c 400, Kerl dh 412, Markott lf 311, Reiman 2b 301, Scibetta rf 400, Gillis p 000, Evans p 000. Totals –35-3-10.

CUMMING MOTORS (6): Hillard lf 512, Klotz c 312, Lehner rf 411, Burd 1b 300, Park 3b 402, Chamberlain ss 311, Weglarz cf 312, Mock dh 200, Eichorn dh 200, Turiano 2b 411, Gearhart p 000, Smith p 000. Totals — 33-6-11.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Buffalo 000 000 120–3 10 2

Cumming Motors 200 000 13X–6 11 3

E–Park, Turiano, Chamberlain, Reiman 2. 2B–Reiman, Hillard 2, Klotz. 3B–Chamberlain. RBI–Hillard, Lehner, Weglarz, Turiano, Klotz, Floccare, Markott. WP–Smith. LP–Evans. SO–Gearhart 8, Smith 1 Gillis 7. BB–Gearhart 3.

Records: Cumming Motors 1-0, Buffalo 0-1.

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