One bad inning ends Juniata County’s run
MILTON — Rich Rush and his Juniata County all-stars would certainly like to replay the second inning of their Little League District 13 Major baseball final against Selinsgrove.
At least, everything that occurred after two outs had been recorded at the Mary F. Byers Memorial Complex Sunday afternoon.
Powerful Selinsgrove — a team averaging 15-plus runs per game during the first four games of the tournament — took advantage of three Juniata errors, a couple infield hits that traveled less the 30 feet, a pair of walks and a couple of timely hits to forge a six-run inning and claim the district championship with a 9-4 victory.
Selinsgrove will play Williams-port in the section tournament at Minersville next weekend.
Juniata starting pitcher Jordan Dickinson wriggled out of a huge first-inning, bases-loaded jam when he got a called the strike for the second out and then worked his way back from a 3-0 count for another strikeout to end a 25-pitch inning.
An RBI double from his battery mate Josh Bomberger staked him to a 1-0 lead after one but Selinsgrove’s Hunter Carper, the first batter of the second inning, tied the game with a home run to left-center field. After a strikeout, Dickinson had an infield single No. 9 hitter Caleb Hicks saw go off his shin and his own throwing error setup a first-and-third situation.
Selinsgrove took a 2-1 lead when the trail runner of a double steal attempt was out at second, allowing Hicks to score. After a walk, two throwing errors on Tyler Swineford’s single to center contributed to the five unearned runs in Dickinson’s dismal 49-pitch inning.
“The two (infield singles) hurt us and we threw the ball around,” Rush said. “I didn’t think we played really bad defense this game but a lot of the breaks didn’t go our way.”
Rush’s crew clawed back with single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. An RBI double by Dylan Wagner scored Jake Brackbill in the second and Bomberger crushed a home run to left in the third. Caleb Smith cut the Selinsgrove lead to 6-4 in the fourth when he reached on a single to lead off the inning and scored on a fielder’s choice by Seth Laub.
Reliever Grant Reinhold, who came on in the third inning, had better luck against Selinsgrove, though he did surrender three runs incluuding Max Mauer’s two-run home run in the fifth inning that pushed his team’s lead to 9-4.
“He pitched well and he kept us in the game,” Rush said. “He has a nice curveball and actually a nice knuckleball. He’s only eleven so he’s gonna be back next year.”
Rush took the blame for Mauer’s shot in the fifth.
“That’s was my fault,” Rush said. “I called for a fastball and we had first base open. That was my mistake.”
Ryan Reich was solid on the mound for Selinsgrove scattering six hits and striking out eight. He walked just one and was aided by a pair of double plays from his defense which didn’t make an error.
Mauer paced the Selinsgrove offense with a three hits and three RBIs.