YOUTH LEGION BASEBALL: S.W. Jack gains momentum, forces decisive Game 3
Momentum swings usually play a key role in the outcome of Youth Legion baseball games.
I-Medical and S.W. Jack managers Doug Pennington and Mitch Pacconi certainly can concur with this theory after watching the first two games of the Indiana County Youth Legion championship series unfold.
A day after I-Medical plated seven runs in the fourth inning to pull away for a win in Game 1, S.W. Jack returned the favor, scoring 12 runs in the second inning to coast to a 12-2 win in Game 2 of the best-of-three series Friday at Charlie Hogan Field at the White Township Recreation Complex.
The game was shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.
The third and deciding game of the series will be played at 4 p.m. today at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field in Punxsutawney.
Top-seeded I-Medical defeated the third-seeded Black Sox, 11-3, in Game 1.
“There are almost always momentum swings,” Pacconi said. “There are some young guys here, and when you get a bad inning, things get contagious. But we did a great job bouncing back.”
The Black Sox turned a scoreless game into a blowout by plating 12 runs on five hits and nine walks in the bottom of the second inning. Colton Johnson fueled the rally with a two-run double. Bobby Bell added a two-run single, and Cole Shaffer, Jason Harrington and Jake Kelly each hit RBI singles.
Pennington made four pitching changes in the second inning, finally settling on 13-year-old Sam Gigliotti.
“I think that was real important … jumping on them right away, (and) getting the confidence back in our team. Get them down a little bit,” Pacconi said.
“Some days you show up. Some days you don’t,” Pennington added.
“Today wasn’t our day. Our starting pitcher had a little bit of an arm issue. We had to get away from him. We just started going down the line, and we weren’t very effective pitching today.”
Dakota Byers drove in I-Medical’s only runs when he clobbered a two-run homer off winning pitcher Chase Kromer in the third.
Kromer tossed a four-hitter. He struck out six and walked four.
“Chase Kromer came in and threw a great game,” Pacconi said. “He threw a heck of a game in his last game against Blairsville (Kovacik Insurance), too. That always helps. Having him on the mound.”
I-Medical suffered its first loss since falling to Clymer Legion on May 24.
“No, I’m not concerned,” Pennington said. “I think we’ll be fine tomorrow. I think we’ll bounce back and play like we’ve played all season long. It’s just another bump in the road.”
PHOTO: S.W. Jack's Ryan Palmer waited for a popup to come down during Friday's game at the White Township Recreation Complex. (MIKE WALKER/Gazette)