MC 15s top Altoona 8-1, on to finals

MILROY – Lights, camera, action.

Scene two, Act one.

When the lights went back on Sunday afternoon, Mifflin County finished its District 7 game from Friday night with Altoona in strong fashion.

When the rains came Friday, the Mifflin County 15-year-olds were ahead, 5-1, with runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Sunday, Altoona got the final out of the fourth, but in the fifth Mifflin County scored three more times and beat Altoona, 8-1, to move into the district finals.

Mifflin County and Altoona will now square off for the title tonight at 5 p.m. If Mifflin County losses the first game, the ‘if necessary’ game will take place 8 p.m.

Altoona got to the finals as it beat Gettysburg 17-2 on Sunday after four innings due to the 10-run rule.

In the fifth, Mifflin County’s Nate Earnest opened the inning by getting on by an error. Manny Eby popped to the catcher for the first out, but Ty Hunter walked to keep the inning alive.

Aaron Sharp singled to left to knock home Earnest and when the ball got behind the Altoona left fielder, Sharp was on second and Hunter landed at third.

Zach Hostetler grounded to second and Hunter scored. Alex Hackenberg then laced a double and Sharp scampered home.

Meanwhile, on the mound Graham Rhoades left off where he ended Friday night, on a roll.

Rhoades finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks. He only gave up three hits, all singles.

“First, this was an absolute team victory,” said Bernie Howard, the Mifflin County manager. “You have to start with Graham Rhoades. He had an outstanding pitching performance. Evan beyond the three hitter and the 12 strikeouts, he kept his composure throughout (the long) game. He was in control start to finish.”

“The offense output was excellent,” Howard noted. “We had timely hitting throughout the lineup. The unsung hero for us is Nate Earnest. If there is a better catcher at this age group, I haven’t seen him.”

Mifflin County finished with 10 hits with Jared Soles getting three and Hackenberg two. Zach Hostetler tripled and Hackenberg, Rhoades and Soles each had doubles.