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Gearhart’s gem too much for MC

Sentinel photo by WILLIAM WHISLER
Mount Union pitcher Dylan Gearhart threw a dominant complete-game shutout to push Mount Union past Mifflin County, 3-0 on Sunday night in Milroy. Gearhart also drove in two runs.

MILROY — In a matchup of elite local pitchers, Dylan Gearhart and Colby Bodtorf didn’t disappoint.

The two stars on the mound mowed down hitters all night and at times cruised on the mound, sending players back to the dugout shaking their heads.

In the end, Gearhart’s star power was too much to overcome, as the Mount Union alum dazzled hitters with an electric fastball and a sweeping bender, throwing a complete-game shutout to give Mount Union a 3-0 victory over Mifflin County in an Independent League baseball contest on Sunday night at Armagh Field.

Gearhart used his fastball to get ahead often and mixed in his curveball effectively to rattle hitters. Gearhart racked up the strikeouts all night, punching out 12 batters while allowing just four hits.

“It just felt like I was back to normal and like I was pitching in college ball again,” Gearhart said. “I just felt like I was sharp all over again. I worked myself into a couple full counts which made it tough, but I don’t look to get strikeouts, I try to get groundouts, pop-ups and get outs any way I can to win a ball game. Strikeouts come, and a good bit of them came tonight.”

Sentinel photo by WILLIAM WHISLER
Mifflin County’s Colby Bodtorf was sharp all evening, but a three-run third for MU was too much to overcome.

Mount Union coach Marty Walter was elated with the performance he received out of his star player.

“I asked him how many he could go and he said ‘I’ll let you know,’ so he was going to be there until he was done,” Walter said. “He’s the leader of the team and everybody follows him. We knew if he was on, we just needed to score some runs to support him.”

Bodtorf had energy on the mound and seemed to have a little extra zip on his fastball, commanding his pitches well. He managed to avoid tough situations throughout the evening.

“I really felt like I was keeping the ball on the corners and not letting much over the plate,” Bodtorf said. “I was mixing up speeds a good bit.”

The lone blemish came in the third inning, as walks to Tyler Renninger and Cael Walter, and a base hit by Grayson McClain put Gearhart up with the bases-loaded and two outs for Mount Union (7-3). Gearhart worked the count and drove a two-run single into center field to score Renninger and Walter. McClain later scored on a wild pitch to score the third and final run of the night.

“I played every situation imaginable in my head before the [at-bat],” Gearhart said. “I don’t know. He grooved me a fastball and I was able to put a barrel on it.”

Bodtorf was nearly perfect otherwise, throwing a complete game, giving up five hits and striking out seven, while walking three batters.

“Colby was ready to go from the start and he pitched a heck of a game,” Mifflin County coach John McGonigle said. “We’re really happy with his performance tonight. He’s the first one we’ve let go seven innings and run up the pitch count this year, as we’re getting to the point where we have to do that. He showed what he’s all about. He’s a competitor all around and he gives us his all every single night.”

Mifflin County (8-2) had a chance in the first inning, as Bryce Dobson singled up the middle, stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch with one out in the inning. Jaxson Pupo delivered a high flyball to deep left field that landed right near the foul pole, but was ruled a foul ball. Pupo struck out and Ethan Eichhorn grounded out to third to end the threat.

Mifflin County’s best chance came in the third inning when an infield single by Isaiah Alters and a walk by Bodtorf gave Mifflin County two baserunners with nobody out. Gearhart seemed to have his best with runners on base, stranding six Mifflin County baserunners on the night. He got two flyballs and a strikeout in the third to get out of the jam unscathed.

“We had a chance to turn the ball game in the third inning with first and second with nobody out,” McGonigle said. “You can’t do that against a pitcher like this. You have to take advantage of those opportunities and Dylan threw a great game for them. We just couldn’t find those key hits tonight to get the ball rolling in our favor. You’re going to play games like that. These are two really good teams and it’s going to be a battle the rest of the way.”

Alters was the only hitter in the game with two hits on either side.

“Isaiah Alters at the bottom of the lineup did really well tonight,” McGonigle said. “It was a battle tonight at the plate, no doubt about it. We have to come back, reset and get the bats rolling again on Tuesday night against Clarence.”

Mount Union wraps up the week with victories over the top two teams in the league in Mifflin County and Tyrone.

Walter said the approach is still the same.

“We will stay humble,” he said. “We’ll stay humble and keep playing baseball. That’s what we do.”

Mifflin County returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Clarence, while Mount Union will travel to Huntingdon. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m.

NOTES:

Mifflin County and Mount Union have split the season series, 1-1. Mifflin County won the first game at Mount Union, 13-12, on June 30. Dobson had seven RBIs for Mifflin County in the victory. The two teams wrap up the regular season with a head-to-head matchup at Mount Union on July 23.

Mount Union 3, Mifflin County 0

Mount Union 003 000 0 — 3 5 1

Mifflin County 000 000 0 — 0 4 1

WP: Dylan Gearhart. LP: Colby Bodtorf. SO: Gearhart 12 (MU); Bodtorf (MC) 7. BB: Bodtorf 3 (MC); Gearhart 2 (MU). MH: Isaiah Alters 2-3 (MC). RBIs: Gearhart 2 (MU).

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