BROADALBIN - Mired in a 10-game losing streak, the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots were hungry for a win.
With the Patriots' Tyler Graham and Johnstown's Grant Gyldenvand locked in a pitcher's dual on the mound, and the Sir Bills clinging to a slim 1-0 lead, the young B-P squad rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to stun the veteran Johnstown squad for a 3-1 Foothills Council victory.
"We got four hits in that inning and I don't think we have had a four-hit inning all year," Broadalbin-Perth coach Dan Simonds said. "We have had games where we haven't had four hits in a game, so doing that is a sign of this team coming to life at the right time. He [Gyldenvand] is a great pitcher, and to get a hit against him is an accomplishment for our offense. Plus, we got a great game from Tyler on the mound today."
Broadalbin-Perth’s Logan DeNeuville slides in behind Johnstown shortstop Matt Szurek (6) for a stolen base in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s Foothills Council game at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
After two innings of no-hit ball from both pitchers, Johnstown's Steven Forker collected the first hit of the game, a ground-rule double onto the hill in right.
A pair of spectacular defensive plays from Patriots second baseman Tyler Schmidt kept Forker advancing.
"He [Schmidt] has been struggling a bit at the plate this year, but his defense has saved a lot of runs," Simonds said.
The Sir Bills got the break they needed on a throwing error on a soft grounder off the bat of Dan Nellis. The error allowed Forker to cross the plate for a 1-0 advantage.
B-P got its first hit of the game with two outs in the bottom of the third when Brett Getman singled but was left stranded on base.
Johnstown threatened again in the top of the fifth, getting a lead-off single from Robert Brown, but could not take advantage of the situation as Brown was forced at second on a fielder's choice by Ryan Auty. Nellis followed with a walk and Matt Szurek lifted a deep sacrifice fly to left to put runners at second and third. Graham got out of the jam with a strikeout to keep the game at 1-0 in favor of the Sir Bills.
The Patriots tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with Luigi Magliocca hitting a two-out single and advancing to second on a failed pick-off attempt.
Getman singled to right just out of the reach of a diving attempt by Johnstown right fielder Connor Rodecker. Magliocca fell rounding third but recovered in time to beat the throw to the plate and tie the game at one.
The Patriots built on the momentum to get the big at-bat they needed in the bottom of the sixth.
Joe Zarecki led off with a single and was pinch-run for by Jeremiah Horton. Zach Morreale legged out an infield single before Logan DeNeuville punched a two-strike single to center.
Center fielder Jon Heroth came up throwing and fired a strike to Adam Caputo at home. The throw halted Horton, who retreated to third, but caught Morreale in a rundown between second and third for the out as DeNeuville scampered into second.
"Logan DeNeuville did a good job keeping himself alive up there," Simonds said. "[Heroth] has a great arm and he showcased it early so we knew not to test it."
Noah Martin followed, delivering a 2-0 fastball to left center that one-hopped over the fence for a two RBI ground-rule double and a 3-1 Broadalbin-Perth lead.
"It was a high fast ball right on top of the strike zone and I just wanted to smack the ball," Martin said. "That felt amazing. We were all pumped once it happened. I was so psyched when I was on second."
Graham locked up the win, setting the Sir Bills down in order in the top of the seventh.
"They had nothing to lose and were playing loose and we were playing tight and it showed," Johnstown coach Aaron Mraz said. "The last three games it has been like that. We get opportunities to score and don't and we just are not running the bases well."
Gyldenvand allowed seven hits, while striking out four and walking none. Forker had a double and Brown a single to account for the Sir Bills hits.
"Give them the credit. They came out, played hard and did what they had to do," Mraz said of the Patriots. "You can't take anything away from that. They made great plays and had some timely hits. We need to regroup, comeback Friday and get our game back heading into sectionals."
Graham finished his two-hit pitching performance with nine strike outs and one walk.
"My slider was working today," he said. "I couldn't have done it without the defense behind me. I expected a good hitting team in Johnstown so I knew I had to come with my A-game today."
Getman finished the game with two singles, and RBI and a stolen base, while Martin had a two RBI double to lead the Patriots.
"Coming back is something we have not been able to do this season," Simonds said. "Getting those hits with runners in scoring position were the hits we have not been getting this year. If we continue to have the ability to do that I think we have a very good baseball team."
Broadalbin-Perth (3-11 overall, 3-8 Foothills) will host Mayfield in a non-league contest today before facing Johnstown (8-6 overall, 7-4 Foothills) again Friday at 7 p.m. under the lights at Johnstown High School.
Broadalbin-Perth 3, Johnstown 1
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Gyldenvand and Caputo; Graham and Morreale.