JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown Sir Bills took advantage of four Glens Falls errors, but couldn't overcome shaky pitching in an 8-6 loss to the Indians Monday at Johnstown High School.
Johnstown (3-3 overall) drew first blood after starting pitcher Steve Forker set the Indians down in order in the top of the first. Lefty Clark Wooley hit Dan Nellis with a pitch to give the Sir Bills their first baserunner of the game before Matt Szurek laced a double to center field. Szurek advanced to third when Indians' center fielder A.J. Weils bobbled the ball, forcing Nellis in for the first run of the contest. Connor Rodecker followed Szurek with an RBI double of his own to put Johnstown up 2-0.
Forker surrendered a home run to Glens Falls' cleanup hitter, Logan Akins, to kick off the second, but settled down and retired three straight to get out of the inning. The third inning, however, was a struggle for Forker. He hit the first batter he faced, Colin Duell, something that would become somewhat of a trend.
Johnstown’s Matt Szurek, right, laces a double to center field in the first inning of Monday’s Foothills Council game against Glens Falls at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Duell was hit three times Monday as the Sir Bills and Indians combined for seven hit batsmen. Forker walked two batters in the inning and hit one more, while Wooley ripped a two-run double to center to help his own cause. Wooley's knock was the sole hit in the inning for Glens Falls, but the Indians scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead.
"When you're hitting guys and walking guys, we're putting them on for free," Johnstown head coach Aaron Mraz said. "Then, somebody just needs to get a hit or put one in the gap and they all come around to score."
Nellis was hit for a second time in the home half of the third and, after a series of passed balls, scored on a sacrifice fly by Rodecker. The Sir Bills regained the lead in the fourth thanks to two more errors by Glens Falls. Adam Caputo reached on an error by Indians' second baseman Andrew Corlew before Ryan Auty was hit by a Wooley offering. Both advanced on a wild pickoff attempt before Richie Lee knocked them in with a single to put the Sir Bills up 5-4.
Glens Falls got to Forker again in the fifth to take the lead for good. Forker allowed a walk and two hits to the first three batters of the inning, including a booming double to deep right-center field by Akins. Nellis, who relieved Forker after Akins' hit, surrendered an RBI triple to Nolan Murphy later in the frame before inducing a fly ball to left to get out of the inning.
"I think five of those guys that scored were walks or hit batsmen," Mraz said. "When you do that it puts a lot of pressure on your offense. We swing good bats and they're good enough to win, but on the pitching end we need to take care of business."
Forker hit an RBI groundout in the sixth to close the gap for Johnstown, but Glens Falls added one in the seventh to maintain a two-run lead. The first two batters of the seventh inning reached for the Sir Bills, but relief pitcher Corlew got three straight outs to end the game.
"Our offense has been good," Mraz said. "We're putting up those kind of runs and when you do that here you should be able to get some wins, which we will."
Lee and Rodecker led the way for Johnstown offensively. Each had a pair of hits and 2 RBI.
The Sir Bills will look to exact some revenge and run their record above .500 when they travel to face the Indians on their home field Wednesday at 4:30.
Glens Falls 8, Johnstown 6
Glens Falls 013 030 1 - 8 7 4
Johnstown 201 201 0 - 6 7 0
Wooley, Corlew (5) and Burton; Forker, Nellis (5) and Caputo