East Juniata rallies to victory

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
East Juniata's second baseman Evan Clauser, left, and right fielder Cy Fronk collide causing the ball to come loose.

COCOLAMUS — Despite early setbacks, East Juniata rallied to come back from behind to defeat Millersburg 6-4 in a Tri-Valley League baseball game on Tuesday.

“Really good,” Tigers coach Justin Martin said. “We beat these guys in the first game of the season and wasn’t sure coming in but I had a pitching plan for three games this week and it happened to work out.”

The comeback began in the bottom half of the fifth inning as the Tigers faced relief pitcher Dillon Gray, who replaced starter Ryley Novinger, who kept the East Juniata bats in check.

When Gray took over, new life seem to emerge from the Tigers as Ethan Jamison led off the inning with a walk then moved to second after Gray made a throwing error on a pick off attempt and Nathaniel Losch made him pay with a double deep to center field, cutting the lead to to runs.

Later in the inning Daniel Kanagy and Logan Wagner drew back to back walks to load the bases. Jadyn Martin came on and singled home Losch before Evan Clouser and Owen Dimm drew back to back bases-loaded walks to bring in both Kanagy and Wagner and give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Gray pitched only two-thirds of an inning with five walks.

“Any time you start putting runs together the guys start getting into the game and good things start happening,” Martin said. “That was fortunate for us that they brought in a pitcher who was struggling and we took advantage.

“We’ve been struggling with helping the other team’s pitchers all year long,” Martin continued. “We tend to be a little anxious and swing and put balls in play that they shouldn’t necessary be swinging at.”

East Juniata tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff double from Trenton Risban. Wagner came back on and singled him home.

Wagner went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and two RBIs. Risban batted 2-for-3 with a double.

Things didn’t too well for East Juniata at the start of the game as pitcher Kanagy got into trouble, throwing 25 pitches in the opening frame. The Tigers struggled defensively as well committing two errors in the inning but luckily only allowed one run.

The struggles continued as the Indians were able to add on more runs, including some on passed balls. The Tigers had five errors in the game.

“That’s always frustrating,” Martin said. “These kids they have all the heart in the world but they’re going to make errors.”

Martin was third to the mound and put a stop to the Millersburg bats going the final three and two-thirds innings to collect the win.

“Kanagy struggled the first inning I think he had like 25 pitches in that first inning which is rough for one inning pitching,” Martin said. “He’s always figured it out eventually but I had a pitching plan to try and get through this week so I couldn’t really leave him in. Smidge (Losch) came in and threw his 25 pitches. Jadyn came in and closed it out for us and he pitched very well.”

“Jadyn tends to do better coming in late in games instead of starting,” Martin continued. “He may stay in that role we may give him another chance at starting soon.”

East Juniata (4-7, 4-6) travels to Fannett-Metal today.

“Just getting the kids out there, getting some reps and at-bats,” Martin said. “I’m hoping to get another win as well.”

East Juniata 6, Millersburg 4

Millersburg 111 010 0 — 4-8-1

East Juniata 001 041 x — 6-8-5

WP: Jadyn Martin. LP: Dillon Gray. SO: Daniel Kanagy 2, Nathaniel Losch, Martin 2(EJ); Ryley Novinger 5, Gray 2, Tyler Shultz (M). BB: Losch (EJ); Novinger, Gray 5 (M). 2B: Losch, Logan Wagner, Trenton Risban, Kanagy (EJ); Tate Etzweiler, Gray (M). MH: Wagner 2-3, Risban 2-3 (EJ); Novinger 2-4, Gray 2-3 (M). RBI: Losch, Wagner 2, Martin, Evan Clouser, Owen Dimm (EJ); Etzweiler, Zane Mowery (M).