Snyder County rallies to district title

Leitzel, Romig have big game on the mound

Sentinel photo by BRETT CROSSLEY
Juniata County’s Taylor Smith makes a diving stop in centerfield during the District 13 Major Baseball Championship in Berwick.

BERWICK– The momentum from Monday’s loss appeared to carry over as Juniata opened the District 13 Major baseball championship with two quick runs.

The only problem was the momentum quickly fizzled as Juniata could only muster two more runs the rest of the way as Snyder County’s pitchers took over. Garrett Leitzel and Noah Romig combined to give up six hits and helped the team overcome three fielding errors. That assisted in limiting Juniata’s output as it picked up a 5-4 win to claim the District 13 Championship.

Snyder County advances to Saturday’s Section 3 tournament at Beech Creek to open against Wellsboro at 2 p.m.

As for Tuesday’s game, Juniata just could keep up the energy it started with, stranding six runners over the course of the final four innings.

“It’s the way it goes,” Juniata manager Ed Jamison said. “That’s baseball. We really cooled off and their pitcher was outstanding. He pitched a heck of a game.”

Garrett Leitzel overcame a bumpy start to keep Snyder County locked in a two-all tie. Leitzel fanned four batters, gave up three runs, and scattered four hits. He was also forced to overcome two fielding errors.

“I didn’t know how the kids were going to react to something like that,” Snyder County manager Jamie Portzline said. “We just told them they couldn’t change history. They had to come out and fight for what they want and hold their heads up. They had to keep together as a team and good things happened.”

Those good things started to happen when Caden Wolfley — who finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a run — singled to open the third inning. He quickly displayed one of his best traits as he got pleny of distance off the base to keep the catcher guessing. On the third pitch of the following at bat, Wolfley took off after a long look to take second. He then advanced to third and scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

“I try to put the catcher to sleep and just work from there,” Wolfley said. “He was being slow as a catcher and he just was just lopping it back to the pitcher. It was my time to go.”

The run seemed to elevate Snyder County’s bench as it scored three more in the fifth to take the lead for good. Trevor Sheaffer hit a two-run single and Cole Keister connected with a single to score another run.

“Some of the momentum went down a little bit,” Portzline said. “The lose was hard on the kids, but they fought back.”

The game opened exactly how Juniata would have drawn it up. Casey Smith drew a walk and Seth Laub singled to move him into scoring position. An error helped score the game’s first run and a double to the left field fence gave Juniata a 2-0 lead.

“They were really wound up when we came out,” Jamison said. “We left runners on base again, but we did what we needed to do to start the game. They were fired up and the momentum from last night really showed to start the game.”