Troy baseball edged by EJ 2-1.

By: Jeff Fishbein | Towanda Daily Review | May 21, 2014


COCOLAMUS - With two out, none on and a slim 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth Tuesday, Troy had little reason to believe its District 4 Class AA first-round baseball game against East Juniata was about to change dramatically.

That's when the Trojans saw trouble for the first time all day. Starting pitcher Kyle Jackson walked two batters, then the Tigers' Jeremy Pannebaker sent a rocket into center field.

With two runs scored, which was all the home team needed - No. 6 East Juniata (14-6) advanced on a 2-1 victory, and will travel to Athens Friday. The third-seeded Wildcats had a bye in the first round.

Troy (11-10) had been sitting on the game's only run since the top of the second, which led off with Isaac Havens getting the first hit of the game. He was caught stealing - a theme that repeated itself through the contest - but Jackson singled to left and eventually made it home on a throwing error, the only one in the game.

Jackson, pushed to second when Kyle Schucker walked, made a dash for third. The steal would have been successful, but it was turned into a run when the throw from the plate went over the head of Mason Hambright at third and into the field, allowing Jackson to cross the plate.

The Tigers had base runners in each of the next three frames, but just one of those - Kyle Hart, who was hit by a pitch and advanced on a walk issued to Bailey Coder - made it into scoring position.

When East Juniata came around in the fifth Hambright grounded out and Tigers' pitcher Chas Maguire hit into a routine infield play.

"It can get to a team that doesn't like each other the way we do," East Juniata's Nick Lorenz said. "We battle for each other. I think it doesn't really matter because everyone's done it sooner or later. If you keep your heads up it will turn out the way it did tonight."

But when eight of the next nine Jackson pitches were outside the zone - including six straight that put Terran Sheaffer and Nick Stahr on the bags - the offense that had played so small a role in the game to that point was in position to make a statement. And it was Pannebaker who would issue it.

His fly to center went well out of reach of Troy's Brandon Mattocks, the double - the second of two extra-base hits, both East Juniata's - plated the two base runners and generated a frenzy among the Tiger fans.

"That was a nice two-run shot there. It wasn't like an error or a bleeder. He hit the ball," Troy manager Steven Mattocks said. "I can tell they're a good hitting team and we're a good hitting team. It was just a good pitching duel."

Mattocks admitted he may have waited too long to change pitchers.

"I was thinking it was time but I just wanted to get through the inning. He'd been keeping them down," he said. "He's been our main starter here the past two years. Part of it is learning how to pitch and play in the big game. Our offense wasn't there and he kept us in the game for four innings."

Troy managed a base hit in each of the two final innings, but the seventh ended in storybook perfection for the Tri-Valley League entrant: Mitchell Morse hit into a double play with a grounder up the middle to Lorenz, who tagged second to erase Jackson, a leadoff single, then threw to first for the final out.

"For a 2-1 ballgame, two pitchers just controlled the hitting," Mattocks said. "These kids know how to play ball on both sides. They took care of the little things. Unfortunately, there had to be a loser."

Notes: Three of four base-stealing attempts failed thanks to the arms of the two catchers. Troy's Jackson had the lone success. ... Two players were caught off the bag at first in the game, one for each team. ... Lorenz got caught in an unusual rundown between first and second when he thought Jackson balked. Under major league rules, he would have been right.

Loyalsock 16, Wellsboro 6, 5 innings

Loyalsock scored six runs in the first inning and at least five runs in each of their five innings of the win.

Brandon Owlett started on the mound for Wellsboro and Sam Moss and Dylan Prough also pitched in the game.

Owlett, and Prough each had two hits, with Prough getting a double and three RBI. Dawson Prough had a hit and Moss had a hit and an RBI.

Andrew Malone and Phil Krizan pitched for Loyalsock.

Jimmy Webb had two hits, two runs and an RBI in the win and Robbie Klein had two hits, two RBI and two runs.

Tommy Baggett had a hit, two RBI and a run for Loyalsock and Joey Balawajder had two hits, a triple, two RBI and two runs.

Kyle Datres scored three runs and had an RBI and Krizan had two RBI and scored twice.

South Williamsport 8, Mansfield 4

After falling behind 3-0 after three, the Tigers took the lead after a four-run fourth inning.

South fought back with a run in the fifth and four in the sixth to get the win.

Bryce Zaparzynski had a double and a run for Mansfield and Joel Whittaker had a hit and two RBI. Nick Mahonski finished with a hit.

Riley Thomas had two hits, a double, a steal and an RBI for South, and Anthony Caruso had two hits, with a home run, an RBI and a run. Billy Rummings had a pair of hits, with a home run, and Bryce Merrill had a double and a run.

Jarrod Burd pitched for Mansfield and Caruso started for South, followed by Cody Nelson, and Rummings got the win in relief.