COCOLAMUS - A presumed battle between two Juniata County baseball teams turned out to be a one-sided victory for East Juniata as the Tigers' Nick Lorenz fired 10 strikeouts and no-hit the visiting Indians en route to a 16-0 victory in four innings.
The matchup tilted in East Juniata's favor in the second inning as the Tigers batted around. Jesse Watts started the frame with a single that was followed by another from Ryan Stuck. Six walks and three hits enabled the Tigers to build a 9-0 lead that proved to be insurmountable for the Indians - especially with Lorenz dealing from the mound.
"Before the game started the one thing I did tell (our players) about Lorenz - you have to have quick bat speed," Juniata coach Nick Beward said. "We just never caught up with the fastball at all tonight."
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
East Juniata’s Nick Lorenz took control of Friday’s Tri-Valley League game against rival Juniata in a mercy-rule shortened victory. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Lorenz struck out two in the opening frame and following a one-two-three bottom half, he took the ball and struck out the side in the second.
"He (Lorenz) usually throws very good against Juniata - especially at home," East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker said. "We wanted him to come in and dominate the game and get us off to a good start."
He did indeed. The lanky right hander was all around the zone - effectively wild some may say - forcing the Indians to swing at fastballs at and above the letters time and again.
IF YOU GO
* East Juniata travels to Millersburg today
* Juniata hosts Midd-West today
"Fortunately he was able to get the ball across the plate enough and they chased some bad pitches," Brubaker added.
The Tigers poured it on again in the home half of the third, inching closer and closer to the required 15 runs needed to end the game early. The Indians walked five Tiger batters and surrendered three hits and the East Juniata squad plated five more runs to make the score 14-0. A shot to right field by Nick Stahr looked like it would end the game but Juniata's right fielder made a nice play to reel in the final out of the frame.
The Indians played well in the field overall - committing just two errors on an extremely windy day that made routine plays more difficult to execute.
East Juniata's right hander took the mound in the third - following a long layoff due to his team's offensive explosion in the second - and walked the leadoff batter before striking out the next two. Following another base on balls, Lorenz settled in yet again and got the next batter swinging.
The Tigers drew 10 walks on the day and successfully capitalized on the free base runners as the team got some timely hits with runners in scoring position. Brubaker noted that his team has been seeing the ball very well, drawing 19 walks in the team's first two games.
"We are apparently seeing the ball very well so far in our two games," he said. "The guys are waiting on their pitches and hitting them."
Despite the tough loss, it was not all doom and gloom for Juniata as the coaching staff got to see some of its younger arms, Jon Ruble in particular.
"We got to look at a couple of younger pitchers tonight - we're so tickled to have Jon Ruble back with the program this year," Beward said. "He's going to throw a lot of innings for us this year."
Both teams will be back on the diamond today as East Juniata (2-0, 2-0) travels to Millersburg and Juniata (1-1) hosts Midd-West.