Kanagy fans 12, Tigers top Trojans
Tusing drives in three in EJ’s victory
COCOLAMUS–On the mound, Daniel Kanagy was in total command and the only thing that was going to stop East Juniata’s starting pitcher from tossing a complete game was the pesky pitch-count rule. In the Tigers’ 7-3 win over Tri-Valley League opponent Upper Dauphin, the senior pitcher allowed two earned runs, racked up a dozen punch outs and overpowered the top-heavy Trojans lineup.
“I know Upper Dauphin, the past couple of years, has been really good,” Kanagy said. “I wanted to mix them up, keep things off-balanced and not be afraid to throw off-speed pitches behind in counts.”
The preparation for the Trojans’ lineup and the ability to execute his pitches for six-plus innings came as no surprise to Tigers coach Justin Martin. This type of dominating performance is the high-level of pitching he expects Kanagy to put forward as the season marches on.
“It was business as usual for him,” Martin said. “He’s one of our top pitchers, so it’s what we expect out of him.”
The game wasn’t all smooth sailing for Kanagy and the Tigers (2-1). A couple of hits and a pair of errors allowed the Trojans (2-4, 1-2 Tri-Valley League) to push across two runs before East Juniata had their first at bats of the game.
“When you start a game, the nerves start up and you tend to settle down two or three innings in,” Martin said. “It’s normal pitching progression.”
Kanagy admitted that nerves may have played a role in the top of the first, but the veteran pitcher didn’t allow the quick strike to snowball and potentially let the game get out of hand.
“It was a little bit of nerves at first, but we just had to get settled in,” Kanagy said. “It takes every team a certain amount of time to settle in, but after that first inning we fought back hard.”
The Tigers quickly responded in support of their pitcher as they tied the game in the second inning. Dylan Wagner drove in Owen Dressler on an RBI groundout and leadoff man Evan Clouser knotted the score at two with an RBI single to center, plating Aaron Kanagy.
The Tigers also tightened up their defense, not commiting a single error after the two miscues in the first inning.
“Knowing I have that support behind me to come through in clutch situations and get outs in the field, it’s huge for my confidence. It goes a long way,” Daniel Kanagy said.
The Tigers’ starter made quick work of the Trojans’ five through nine batters as they combined to go 0-for-13 with one walk and nine strikeouts.
Kanagy’s fearless approach is what gave him the edge.
“Go right after them–a lot of fastballs to those guys,” Kanagy said about his game plan against the lower half of the lineup. “I can notice their body language when I’m up there and I noticed they were a little timid, so I just went right after them.”
The Trojans re-took the lead in the third, but the Tigers again fought back to tie the game at three. However, a three-run bottom of the fourth inning gave East Juniata a lead that they would not relinquish.
Kobe Bonnell drove in Jadyn Martin on a single to left field and a ground-rule double off the bat of Trey Tusing knocked in a pair of runs.
The Tigers added a final insurance run in the sixth, as Tusing’s infield hit brought home Martin. Tusing finished the game 2-4 with three RBIs.
With a comfortable 7-3 lead, Kanagy had fewer than 10 pitches polish off the complete game. He struck out Jonah Peterson and got Hunter Zerby to pop up, but he had reached his limit and was taken out of the game.
Martin came in and ended the game with a bang, getting Brock Troutman to strikeout and bringing the total number of Tigers’ pitchers’ strikeouts to 13.
“This was one of our first games where we had to claw back and grind out the win, which is very satisfying,” coach Martin said. “We’re definitely building off of this one because Upper Dauphin is always a very solid team and well coached.”
East Juniata 7, Upper Dauphin 3
UD: 201 000 0 3-4-2
EJ: 021 301 X 7-8-2
WP: Daniel Kanagy. LP: Tyler Cleveland. SO: Kanagy 12, Jadyn Martin (EJ); Cleveland 6, Hunter Zerby (UD). BB: Kanagy, Martin (EJ); Cleveland 6 (UD). 3B: Nate Wise (UD). 2B: Martin 2, Trey Tusing (EJ). MH: Martin 2-3, Tusing 2-4 (EJ); Wise 2-3. (UD). RBI: Tusing 3, Evan Clouser, Kobe Bonnell, Dylan Wagner.