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Juniata falls to West End 13s

WILLIAMSPORT — In their return to Babe Ruth All-Stars after a lengthy absence, the 15-year-old team from Juniata County lost a hard-fought battle to West End (Williamsport) by a final score of 4-2 in the first game of the District 8 tournament Thursday at Logue Field.

Makai Day went the distance for West End, keeping Juniata County off-balance for seven innings. Owen Yorks started the game for Juniata County, going 4.1 innings, allowing three runs and three walks while striking out one batter. Grant Reinhold finished the game on the mound, pitching 2.2 innings of one-run ball.

Deacon Brown opened the scoring by hitting a single to right field, giving West End the early 1-0 lead. Yorks recovered nicely, retiring the next five hitters he faced.

In the top of the third inning, Juniata County’s Brady Kain hit a one-out single to left. The next batter, Seth Laub, grounded to third, but the ball was misplayed as the third baseman tried to get the lead runner out at second. The second baseman dropped the ball and both runners were safe.

Kain was later caught stealing third in a double steal attempt. With a runner on second, Grant Reinhold reached on an infield single to the pitcher, who then threw the ball away, allowing Laub to score from second. Reinhold was tagged out at third trying to advance on the error.

West End fought back as it scored two runs in the bottom of the third on a Tyler Gee single and a Deacon Brown sacrifice fly, taking a 3-1 lead.

Juniata County wouldn’t get its offense going until the top of the fifth when Jack Hoffman singled to center. Levi Degiglio took over as a pinch runner and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice from Casey Smith. Capturing Day’s attention on the mound, Degiglio drew a pick-off throw that went past the glove of the second baseman. The center fielder came on to field the error, but the ball went under his glove, allowing Degiglio to score, making the game 3-2.

After allowing a walk in the top of the fifth, Yorks was relieved by Reinhold who faced trouble immediately. Reinhold would allow two straight singles that resulted in a run for West End, increasing its lead to 4-2.

This lead would prove to be all Makai Day needed as he finished the game strong, allowing only three base runners in the final two innings for Juniata County. Despite the loss, manager Randy Treaster knows that his team has the talent needed to win its way out of the loser’s bracket.

“I’ve watched these kids play since they were six-years old. I know they’re good. That’s why I said I’d coach them,” Treaster said.

Neither Yorks nor Reinhold tallied many strikeouts. Their pitching styles require their fielders to make the plays when necessary, and in this game, they were perfect, not recording a single error.

“I knew Owen (Yorks) was going to throw strikes,” Treaster explained, “So I put my best defense out there knowing that they would probably hit him.”

While Juniata County’s pitching and defense were solid, Treaster would like — and expects — better at-bats from all his players moving forward. The Juniata offense tallied just three hits, two of which coming off the bat of their lead-off man, Kain.

“We just need to hit the ball a little bit harder and put runners in scoring position,” Treaster said. “I honestly think that after this game, they’re ready to play the next game. They’re not gonna be down at all. They’re gonna be ready to play (tonight). I guarantee that.”

The Juniata offense could not capitalize off of six West End errors but Treaster’s message to his team remains the same: “We came to win. We didn’t come to finish second.”

Juniata will play in an elimination today at 8 p.m. against the loser of the day’s first game, between Mifflin County and Altoona.

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