Wagner, Predators drop Spring Mills 4-2

LEWISTOWN – Seth Wagner pitched seven sharp innings and Chad Battista hit a two-run homer to lead the Lewistown Predators to a 4-2 win over Spring Mills Wednesday evening at Mifflin County High School.

Wagner was in control all game, striking out eight and allowing just one earned run in the complete game performance. The Minnesota Twins draft pick showed great command of all of his pitches, issuing just one walk in the contest and working his way out of several jams.

“We’ve come to expect it out of him,” Lewistown manager Sean Heckert said of the southpaw’s outing. “We always expect a good outing from him. He did great, threw a lot of strikes and got ahead of a lot of batters. Overall, it was a great performance.”

It appeared from the start that the Predators’ offense was going to have a big day against Spring Mills starting pitcher Cory Bostdorf. He retired leadoff hitter Jay Hartman on a weak popup, but the next six Lewistown batters would end up reaching base. The highlight of the inning was Battista’s blast over the left field fence that scored Heckert, who had doubled in the previous at-bat. Hunter Thompson added an RBI double later in the inning to extend the lead to 3-0, but Bostdorf was fortunate enough to get Chris Drobnick to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Bostdorf settled down after the first inning fireworks, only allowing one more run the rest of the way. It came in the fifth when Morgan Barger raced to third on a passed ball and scored when an errant throw skipped past third baseman Mike Vogt.

Luckily for Lewistown, Wagner wasn’t about to let Spring Mills have a big inning to get back in the game.

“We really needed Seth out there, we didn’t hit very well today,” Heckert said.

Spring Mills was able to cut the lead to one in the fifth when Jordan Brennan singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on an error and a sacrifice bunt. The visitors then took a risk and pulled off a perfect suicide squeeze when Brennan broke for home as George Conklin bunted perfectly down the third base line. Brennan easily scored, but further damage was prevented when Predator third baseman Cody Young made a slick grab of a line drive to end the inning.

Wagner walked Brennan to lead off the seventh and final inning, but a strikeout of Bostdorf and back-to-back groundouts by Rich Aumon and Conklin ended the visitors’ hopes.

The Predators stranded eight runners on base with six of them being left in scoring position, but the big first inning prevented this one from going in the loss column.

“We scored basically all our runs there in the first inning, so it was a good one,” Heckert said. “I’d like the bats to be a little more consistent, but we got it done when we needed to today.”

The Predators are back in action today as they host Lemont at 6 p.m. at Mifflin County High School.