Gettysburg shows its mettle in opener

MILROY – It was an unexpected battle.

Maybe with all the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg this past week, the players from that town were inspired to take on Mifflin County.

In recent years, Gettysburg, which draws its all-stars from a three-team league compared to Mifflin County’s 10, has not put up much of a fight when taking on Mifflin County.

On Saturday night, in the opening game of the District 7 15-year-old tournament, Gettysburg gave Mifflin County everything it wanted and then some.

The local all-stars scored four runs late and then had to use ace pitcher Peyton Reesman to preserve a 6-2 victory.

Mifflin County will play again on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Altoona, which defeated Perry County, 7-2, on Saturday. There were no games Sunday due to rain.

Alex Hackenberg started for Mifflin County and he held the Gettysburg offense to just two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out eight.

“Alex (Hackenberg) gave us a great pitching performance for five innings,” Bernie Howard, the Mifflin County manager said. “Finally in the sixth with the opressive heat, we had to make a move.

“We went to Peyton (Reesman) and I thought how appropriate that just a couple hours before that he had received the league’s Outstanding Pitching Award and then before a large crowd he showed why he had earned that honor,” Howard said.

“Gettysburg played very well,” Howard said. “We finally played small ball and forced them into some mistakes. Zach Hostetler’s bunt single (in the sixth) got us going.

“The unheardled hero for us was our catcher, Nate Earnest,” Howard said. “In the heat, he only had one passed ball and threw two runners out.”

Gettysburg scored a run in the second inning as Austin Ivey singled, moved to second on a throwing error and scored on a Chris Kletz single. The score at that point was 2-1 in favor of Mifflin County and that is the way it stayed until the sixth inning.

Mifflin County scored two runs in the first inning as Zach Hostetler beat out an infield grounder for a single. He stole second and scored on a Lucas Harshbarger double. Harshbarger later scored when Reesman reached on a Gettsyburg error.

Gettysburg tied the game in the top of the sixth as Chase Stadler walked, stole second and third and scored on a passed ball. Coleman Sachs followed with a walk and Mifflin County manager, Bernie Howard, went to his ace pitcher, Reesman to get his club out of the jam.

Reesman responded with six straight strike outs, three in the sixth and three in the seventh, to pick up the win.

With the game tied at 2-2 Mifflin County finally pulled away with four runs in the sixth on just one hit, a bunt single from Hostetler.

The rally started as Jared Soles, sent into pinch hit, was hit by a pitch. Manny Eby was then sent into pinch run. He moved to second on a wild pitch, went to third on an Andrew Larson ground ball and scored on a wild pitch.

With one out, Aaron Sharp walked and Hostetler then layed down his bunt to keep the pressure on Gettysburg. Hackenberg walked and that point and the Gettysburg defense started to come unglued as Sharp scored on an error and Hostetler on a passed ball. Hackenberg came home on a Harshbarger ground out.

Mifflin County only had seven hits with Harshbarger getting three and Hostetler two.

It was a good night for both catchers as Mifflin County lost four runners on the base paths thanks to Austin Ford’s arm and Gettysburg had two runners tossed out by Earnest.