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JOHNSONBURG â€“ Johnsonburg baseball rallied with a 4-run sixth inning to take a 6-4 victory over Elk County Catholic Monday afternoon at Knothole Area Recreational Park.
The Crusaders had a 4-2 lead entering the home half of the sixth inning but the Rams sent nine hitters to the plate en route to taking the lead. Mitchell Holmberg led the inning off by being hit by a pitch. He moved to second on a passed ball. After a flyout, Zac Luhr singled up the middle to move Holmberg to third and Quinn Luhr followed with a single of his own to plate Holmberg, pushing the lead to 4-3.
Kyle Sheldon entered as a courtesy runner for Zac Luhr and moved to third on a passed ball. Frank Kocjancic walked to load the bases and after a strikeout, Jesse Wolfe singled home both Sheldon and Quinn Luhr to put the Rams up 5-4. Wolfe finished with four RBI.
â€śThat was really good hitting on Jesse Wolfeâ€™s part, heâ€™s coming out of his slump,â€ť Johnsonburg coach Jeff Peterson said. â€śHe was slumping there for a while. A couple big, clutch hits by him in that game.â€ť
Elk County Catholic coach Father Eric Vogt said the Rams took advantage of run-producing opportunities.
â€śThey hit the ball when they had to, with runners on they scored them,â€ť Vogt said.
Kocjancic moved to second on Wolfeâ€™s single. Cole Peterson followed up reaching on an ECC infield error. On the play, Kocjancic hustled from second and slid home to beat the throw and put the Rams ahead 6-4.
â€śWe showed a lot of character as far as not giving up when we were down 3-2,â€ť coach Peterson said. â€śWe could have folded there, I think years ago we would have folded. These kids just keep plugging, they donâ€™t quit. They can hit and play the game, they just keep hanging around. Weâ€™re a pest. We just keep plugging and keep grinding and we like to hang around. Weâ€™re not a big powerhouse team where weâ€™re going to score 20 runs but we hang around.â€ť
Coach Peterson said the players have good baseball instincts on the bases.
â€śThe instinctâ€™s there, these kids want to run,â€ť coach Peterson said. â€śWe just have to play it by ear, whoâ€™s behind the plate, whoâ€™s doing what and the jumps we get on the passed balls. The kids are just doing an excellent job. I canâ€™t complain about one thing right now. They played four games in so many days. Theyâ€™re hanging right there. Itâ€™s getting to be a fun, little team to watch.
â€śOverall, the defense played well,â€ť coach Peterson said. â€śWe had a couple little flubs here and there that ate us up there but we hung around.â€ť
Zac Luhr came in and closed the deal in the seventh with a perfect inning.
Johnsonburg took advantage of plate discipline in the bottom of the second to break the scoreless tie. After recording two outs, the Rams had three straight walks from Quinn Luhr, Kocjancic and Andrew Nortum to load the bases. Wolfe came through with a single past second to score both Quinn Luhr and Kocjancic and give Johnsonburg a 2-0 lead.
â€śWe canâ€™t give up walks,â€ť Vogt said. â€śWalks will hurt you all the time.â€ť
Elk County Catholic was stifled on offense early in the game and didnâ€™t get a baserunner until the fourth inning.
â€śWe didnâ€™t hit until the fifth inning. Weâ€™re not going to win many games doing that,â€ť Vogt said. â€śThey hit the ball hard the first four innings, they just hit it right at them. Thatâ€™s the game of baseball.â€ť
Cole Peterson started the game on the mound and threw three perfect innings.
â€śCanâ€™t say enough about the pitching,â€ť coach Peterson said. â€śOur pitching did a really nice job. Cole looked really good in the beginning, he and Mitchell did a nice job and Zac Luhr come in there and just shined at the end. He threw really nice. He hasnâ€™t thrown much, heâ€™s been behind the plate a lot, did a great job throwing.â€ť
Luke Daghir walked in the fourth inning for Elk County Catholicâ€™s first baserunner.
ECC then put a 3-run inning together in the fifth to take the lead. Ben Daghir led off with a single and Jake Cortina followed with an infield hit. Brock McCullough grounded into a fielderâ€™s choice at third to take Ben Daghir off the basepaths. After a flyout, Zac Brody launched a 3-run home run into left field to put the Crusaders ahead 3-2, scoring Cortina and McCullough.
Ricky Pearsall doubled to lead off the sixth inning and after a flyout, Pearsall scored on a misplayed grounder to second off the bat of Luke Daghir.
ECC had four hits for the game, Johnsonburg had five. Coach Peterson said the Crusaders are a tough test.
â€śThey got a really nice team, they got a lot of athletes,â€ť coach Peterson said. â€śTheyâ€™re going to be tough, theyâ€™re going to be a team to reckon with. This is just one game. Tomorrow it could be a totally different score and go a whole other way. Itâ€™s a nice win, weâ€™ll take it. It shows we can compete with the better teams. Theyâ€™re one of the best teams in the league and I think weâ€™re right up in there a little bit.â€ť
Johnsonburg will play at Berwind Park against Elk County Catholic today at 4:15 p.m.
ECC AB R H BI
Ricky Pearsall 3 1 1 0
Eric Wehler 3 0 0 0
Luke Daghir 2 0 0 1
Ben Daghir 3 0 1 0
Jake Cortina 3 1 1 0
Brock McCullough 3 1 0 0
Joe McLaughlin 3 0 0 0
Zac Brody 3 1 1 3
Kyle Schneider 2 0 0 0
Joe Childs 0 0 0 0
Totals 25 4 4 4
2B: Pearsall. HR: Brody.
Johnsonburg AB R H BI
Cole Peterson 3 0 0 0
Cameron Grumley 3 0 0 0
Mitchell Holmberg 2 1 0 0
Joe Holmberg 3 0 0 0
Zac Luhr 3 0 1 0
Quinn Luhr 2 2 1 1
Frank Kocjancic 1 2 0 0
Andrew Nortum 2 0 0 0
Jesse Wolfe 3 0 2 4
Louie Imbrogno 0 0 0 0
Kyle Sheldon 0 1 0 0
Totals 22 6 4 5
HBP: M. Holmberg. SB: Peterson, Wolfe.
R H E
ECC 000 031 0 - 4 4 1
Johnsonburg 020 004 x - 6 4 1
ECC IP H R BB K
Childs 5.1 3 5 5 3
L. Daghir 0.2 1 1 1 1
Johnsonburg IP H R BB K
Peterson 3 0 0 0 3
M. Holmberg 3 4 4 1 0
Z. Luhr 1 0 0 0 1