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Miscues, offensive woes bite Indians in 11-2 loss to Halifax

MIFFLINTOWN — Errors and struggles at the plate were too much for Juniata to overcome in its 11-2 loss to the Halifax Wildcats in a Tri-Valley League baseball game on Thursday.

“We just got off to a bad first inning, defensively sort of unraveled a bit but that’s part of baseball,” Indians coach Nick Beward said. “They’re kids I know that and its just part of it. I’ve seen enough now that sometimes you have to realize that those things will happen.”

“I got to take the blame for it, me solely,” Beward continued. “Me solely, maybe I’m not having them prepared. We practice so well, our practices are solid and then this happens.”

The trouble started right away for Juniata as the Wildcats scored two runs in the opening frame. Juniata starter Will Orwig gave up a first-pitch single to left field to Ryan Stahl.

Orwig managed to get Judah Miller to fly out to center field before Brody Stoneroad hammered one deep toward the left field wall for an RBI double, allowing Stahl to score to give Halifax a quick 1-0 lead.

Afterwards, Orwig got Carson Buffington to fly out to right before Halifax’s starting pitcher Eli Tyrrell helped his own cause, zipping one down the left field line, bringing in Stoneroad to make it 2-0.

Tyrrell was firing on all cylinders on the mound for the Wildcats in the bottom half of the first inning getting all three outs via strikeout.

After facing six batters in the first inning, Orwig settled down in the second and completely shutdown the Halifax bats striking out the side.

Then the Indians had an opportunity to put some runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the second inning with the bases loaded with two outs. Tyrrell got Dawson Harper to ground out to short to get out of the jam and leave the Juniata runners stranded.

The Juniata defense began to unravel in the top half of the fourth inning after Miller had led off with a single. Orwig attempted to pick off Miller only to have the ball slip past first baseman Jace White which allowed Miller to move over to second.

Stoneroad made Juniata pay for it with a single to left, driving in Miller. Stoneroad and Buffington both scored on errors by the Indians.

Juniata had three of its five errors in the game during the bottom of the third inning.

Then in the fourth, the Wildcats added some insurance runs, with a ground out to shortstop by Miller that drove in Jackson Hoy. Later in the inning, Stoneroad hit a single to left that scored Stahl to make it 7-0.

The Indians finally were able to get some runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. White got the offense going with a lead-off single to left field before stealing second. Matt McWilliams then came off the bench and got his first attempt at the plate and drove in White with another single to left. Grant Reinhold later added the second Juniata run after a wild pitch.

The Indians had six hits from six different players as White, Reinhold, Logan Kehler, McWilliams, Orwig and Logan Pannebaker each recorded a hit in the game.

“We’ve struggle to hit all year for the most part so far in the first three games,” Beward said. “We’re going to spend more time in the cage and get a lot more swings in.”

Orwig pitched the first four innings of the game for Juniata and had six strikeouts and no walks. Harper pitched another 1.2 innings and struck out one while walking three. The final four outs belonged to Cody Fornwalt who had a strikeout.

For the Wildcats, Tyrrell pitched 5.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and walked two batters. Briar Campbell pitched the 1.2 innings, collecting three strikeouts and a walk.

Juniata falls to (1-2) and looks to get back in the win column on Monday as the Indians travel to duke it out with rival Upper Dauphin. Despite their struggles, coach Beward just feels very grateful to be playing baseball.

“Honestly its just a blessing and I’m not complaining, it’s really a blessing to even be playing right now,” Beward said. “Because of COVID going on and teams getting shut down so I will say it is a blessing even to watch them come out and play.”

Halifax 11, Juniata 2

H 203 213 0 11-12-1

JUN 000 002 0 2-6-5

WP: Eli Tyrrell. LP: Will Orwig. SO: Orwig 6, Dawson Harper, Cody Fornwalt (J); Tyrrell 10, Briar Campbell 3 (H). BB: Harper 3 (J); Tyrrell 2, Cambell (H) 2B: Ryan Stahl, Bordy Stoneroad, Carson Buffington (H). MH: Stahl 3-4, Stoneroad 3-5, Jackson Hoy 2-4 (H). RBI: Matt McWilliams (J); Judah Miller, Stoneroad 3, Carter Enders (H).

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