Johnsonburg baseball uses stellar pitching for 5-0 shutout
Pitching was the order of the day at Sandy Beach.Johnsonburg had more than enough of it for the victory. Johnsonburg used a trio of pitchers for a 5-0 Ram win over Ridgway baseball Thursday afternoon at Sandy Beach Recreational Park. "Cole (Peterson) threw well, Mitchell (Holmberg) came in and threw a nice game, especially in the fourth inning getting out of it. Quinn (Luhr) pitched well," Johnsonburg coach Jeff Peterson said. "Defensively, we played real well again." Johnsonburg pitching finished with a combined 13 strikeouts of Ridgway hitting. Cole Peterson pitched the first three innings and allowed just two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Mitchell Holmberg pitched three innings and also allowed two hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Quinn Luhr closed it out in the seventh with two strikeouts. "Johnsonburg has a great 1-2 pitching duo, they're going to be hard to beat. We battled them. Our kids didn't back down, we battled them. The Johnsonburg pitching staff does a tremendous job of mixing up their pitches and keeping you off balance," Ridgway coach Mark Morelli said. "Right now, they're probably going to be the favorite to win District 9 in single-A. They're the target that everybody's looking for and our goal is to get to that level."Peterson was also 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Johnsonburg offense. Holmberg was 2-for-3 with one RBI and Luhr also had a single. Josh Mitchell tossed six innings for Ridgway and had the strikeout working as well, fanning nine Johnsonburg hitters. Mitchell was also 2-for-3 with a double. "Josh Mitchell pitched an extremely exceptional game," Morelli said. Coach Peterson knew he would see Ridgway's ace on the mound and was impressed."I think Josh threw an outstanding game," coach Peterson said. "I'm happy with the win, I'll take it any way I can get it. Especially against a pitcher like Josh. I knew they were going to throw him and we were ready for it."Johnsonburg opened the game with a run in the first inning. Cole Peterson led off with a solid single to center field and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Mitchell Holmberg would single home Peterson for a 1-0 lead. The Rams wouldn't be able to build on the lead until the fourth inning. Taylor Feronti was the lynchpin for the rally as he opened with a leadoff double to left field. After two strikeouts, Peterson would hit a 2-out single which plated Feronti and gave the Rams a 2-0 lead. Ridgway's best rally came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mitchell doubled to open the inning and reached third after a Johnsonburg throwing error. Ben MacDonald followed with a walk and a stolen base to leave runners at second and third with no one out. Holmberg would end the threat for the Rams as he struck out the next three hitters to get out of the jam and keep the shutout and lead intact. "Those little things in a tight game, especially in a pitcher's duel like this, those little things can bite you sometimes and hurt you," Morelli said. The Rams earned some insurance runs in the sixth inning. Frank Kocjancic rebounded from early struggles with a single and Feronti doubled him home with his second double of the game for a 3-0 lead. Coach Peterson said he was happy Kocjancic was able to get a hit in his last at-bat after opening with two strikeouts. "Frank Kocjancic got some redemption there, he put it in play and I knew he could," coach Peterson said. Kyle Sheldon reached on a sharp single and Peterson singled home Feronti for a 4-0 lead. Cameron Grumley would hit a sacrifice fly to plate Sheldon for Johnsonburg's fifth run. The Rams had chances early in the game to extend a tenuous 1-0 lead. After two strikeouts, Feronti reached base on a 2-base throwing error by the Elkers. Sheldon was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base but Mitchell got a strikeout to end the threat and strand a pair of baserunners. Johnsonburg would add another 2-out rally in the third inning. Holmberg and Quinn Luhr each singled and C.J. Herbstritt was walked to load the bases. But just as in the second inning, Mitchell got the strikeout he needed to end the threat and keep the Johnsonburg lead at 1-0."It was a little scary early," coach Peterson said. "Josh was throwing a good game, Cole was throwing a good game." Coach Peterson said while Peterson, Holmberg and Feronti all had good days at the plate, he's still looking for more from the bottom of the lineup. The eighth and ninth spots in the lineup were a combined 1-for-8. "I got to get something out of the bottom of the order, some guys are just hacking," coach Peterson said. "That's where I said our weak spot is but we got to pick it up a notch."Jesse Reynolds and Sam Roselli each had singles for Ridgway. Ridgway (2-4) is at DuBois Central Catholic for a 4 p.m. game Tuesday. "Our coaching staff was pleased with about 85 percent of our play," Morelli said. "They battled, they did the best they could and that's all we can ask against a team like Johnsonburg. We're making progress. It's slow but it's coming. That consistency is starting to come around a little bit. That's pretty much what we tried to reinforce with the kids, they can't get down, they got to keep their heads up and learn the game of baseball, learn the finer points of the game. If they do that, we're going to be fine as the year continues to unfold. We're 2-4 but we think we have one of the better 2-4 teams in the district right now. Losing to Johnsonburg is nothing to be ashamed of because they're undefeated and a tough team to beat." Johnsonburg (5-0) is slated to play at Curwensville for a 4:15 p.m. game Tuesday.