JOHNSTOWN — The hits were there for Delweld all throughout Saturday’s AAABA League Championship Series game at Point Stadium. The runs were late in arriving, but once they did show up the AAABA League’s regular-season champions were able to overtake Martella’s Pharmacy 15-9, completing a three-game sweep in the best-of-5 series.
Delweld lashed out 20 hits against three Martella’s pitchers, but only had three runs to show for 10 of those hits through six innings. The next 10 hits, teamed up with three walks, an error and two hit batsmen showed to be much more productive as Delweld tallied six-run frames in the seventh and eighth.
“We knew going in that when we fell behind early that we’ve been swinging the bats well over the course of the last week in these playoffs,” Delweld manager Chris DelSignore said. “We knew that we were going to have an opportunity to score runs and knew that if we could take the lead or tie it that it would take the wind out of their sails ... The offense came alive and won this game for us. They won the series in my opinion.”
Martella’s built a 6-3 lead through the top of the seventh, jumping out to a 3-0 lead thanks to Jimmy Stenger’s two-RBI double in the first and run-scoring single in the third. Delweld chipped into the Martella’s Pharmacy lead in its half of the third when Marcus Shippey singled and and scored on Devin Pritts’ single. The rivals traded single runs in the fourth as Luke Williams reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a Jesse Cooper base hit in the top half before Delweld replied with Luke Campbell’s RBI infield single. Campbell also chased in a run in the Delweld fifth as Eric Weyant doubled four batters before Campbell in the DH spot.
Mike Mulvey walked and and scored in the sixth when Anthony Fanelli was plunked with the bases loaded – marking the fourth Martella’s batter to be hit by a pitch to that point. Shortly after Mulvey touched home, DelSignore was ejected by home-plate umpire Craig Knupp.
“Things weren’t going well,” DelSignore said. “I knew the easiest way to get thrown out was to argue balls and strikes. I kind of did that to light some kind of fire. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you want to attribute that, I don’t buy into that. Moreso, that’s for me to kind of try to blow off steam ... It happens. If they got some pep out of it, that’s great.”
Martella’s ran its lead to 6-3 as Dillon Boyer worked a bases-loaded walk to bring in Pat Gully. A lineout by Cooper and a swinging strikeout from Tony Strasiser left three runners on base, adding to Martella’s total of 12 through seven innings and 13 overall.
“For us, it was a game of missed opportunities,” Martella’s Pharmacy manager Chris Pfeil said. “Started in the first inning, we had the bases loaded with a two-run lead and one out and we weren’t able to get any more. There were times during the game where guys who came through for us all year didn’t. That’s what ended up doing us in.”
Josh Staniscia, Matt Martin and Campbell all reached base to open the Delweld seventh, ending the night of Martella’s Pharmacy starter Nick Cubarney. Against reliever Rylan Schnably, Delweld kept attacking with Shippey singling in Staniscia and a walk from Drew Hemminger pushing in Martin. A second bases-loaded walk, this one to Austin Sleek knotted the score two batters before Eric Weyant singled in Shippey. A mishandled throw at third by Stenger allowed Hemminger to come in, making it 8-6. Sleek scored a batter later when Ian Helsel dropped a single into center.
Shippey opened the Delweld eighth with a bang, sending a Schnably offering over the high screen in left-center. The now seven-time AAABA League playoff champions tacked on five more runs with Martin’s two-RBI triple off Strasiser highlighting the outburst.
“They were resilient the whole series,” Pfeil said of Delweld. “We’d get them down in the count and they’d find a way to drive the ball the other way. We had a couple errors that didn’t help our cause and we let it get away. They’re a good baseball team.”
Strasiser helped Martella’s cut into the lead with a two-run home run off Ryan Orlovsky, who entered the game in the seventh and earned the win. Fanelli’s flyout to center a batter later triggered Delweld’s league-title celebration. Schnably, who inherited the bases-loaded jam in the seventh, was saddled with the loss.