ST. MARYS – The Johnsonburg Rams used 12 hits on their way to a 10-3 victory over the St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen in the opening game of the Elk County Baseball Tournament played at Berwind Park.
The Rams will meet the Elk County Catholic Crusaders today at noon in the championship game. Elk Catholic beat Ridgway 8-1 in the second game Friday. St. Marys and Ridgway were to meet at 10 a.m. this morning in the consolation game.
The Rams used strong hitting and aggressive base running to record the victory. Their pitchers, while not overpowering, were able to record the outs.
“Defensively we played real well,” said Rams coach Jeff Peterson. “Our pitchers throw strikes and that’s the big thing.”
“We put the ball in play and our defense is our strong point. We’re like a pest. We hang around long enough to do something,” added Peterson.
The Rams were led offensively by Cole Peterson and Andrew Nortum, both with a double and a single. Cameron Grumley, Joe Holmberg and Zac Luhr had two singles each. Mitchell Holmberg and Quinn Luhr each singled.
Ryan Uhl led St. Marys with a home run, while Nate Geist and Brandon Vollmer each doubled. Bob Vollmer had two singles while Justin Quiggle, Kevin Hoy and Luke Nicklas all singled.
“We didn’t hit the ball and our heads weren’t in it,” said St. Marys coach Tony Azzato. “We couldn’t get the bat on the ball.”
“We’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully do something,” added Azzato.
Cole Peterson started on the mound for the Rams. He went three innings, giving up four hits. Mitchell Holmberg worked three innings, giving up two hits and striking out one. Zac Luhr worked one inning of relief, giving up two hits.
Bob Vollmer started on the mound for St. Marys and worked 2 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and walking three. Rocco Harshbarger worked 3 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and walking two.
The Dutch took the 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Justin Quiggle reached base on an error. He stole second and scored on a single by Hoy. The Rams answered in their half of the inning as Peterson led off with a double. With two outs, Joe Holmberg walked. A single by Zac Luhr scored Peterson, knotting the game at 1-all.
St. Marys went up 2-1 in the second inning as Geist doubled with two outs. A double by Brandon Vollmer scored Geist. In the home half of the inning, Nortum and Jesse Wolfe both walked. With one out, Grumley singled, scoring Nortum. A single by Mitchell Holmberg scored Wolfe giving the Rams the 3-2 lead.
St. Marys went in order in the third inning. Zac Luhr led off with a single. Quinn Luhr reached base on a bunt single. With one out, Nortum doubled, scoring both courtesy runner Wade Bowley and Quinn Luhr, giving Johnsonburg the 5-2 lead.
Uhl led off with a home run for St. Marys in the fourth, making the score 5-3. Johnsonburg left two men on base in their half of the inning.
The Dutch left two men on base in the fifth inning. In the home half of the inning, Quinn Luhr reached base on an error. With one out, Nortum singled scoring Luhr. Wolfe and Peterson drew walks. A single by Grumley scored Nortum and Wolfe. A sacrifice fly by Mitchell Holmberg scored Peterson. A single by Joe Holmberg scored Grumley, giving the Rams the 10-3 lead.
Both teams went down in order in the sixth inning. The Dutch threatened but left two men on base in the top of the seventh as the Rams won the game 10-3.