DAGUS MINES – Consistent offense and strong pitching led the Wilcox American Legion team to an 11-1 victory at Fox Township to advance to the Elk County Legion League championship series.
Wilcox won the best-of-three series 2-0 after a 12-3 victory on Tuesday night in Wilcox. The championship series will start on Sunday against St. Marys. St. Marys won 14-5 over Bradford.
Wilcox opened with three runs in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Cole Peterson doubled to open the game and scored on a single from Jesse Reynolds. Mitchell Holmberg then doubled home Reynolds to make the lead 2-0. Zac Luhr grounded out to plate Holmberg and make the lead 3-0.
"I told Cole, you start out, you got to get on," Wilcox coach Jeff Peterson said. "We jumped on it right away and got three and it could have been more. A nice win for a pressure situation. I think we've been a target for a while and we keep battling through it."
Fox Township had a strong threat in the second inning but could not crack the scoreboard. Brenden Tyger and Joe McLaughlin both singled to lead off the inning and Justin Beimel walked to load the bases with no one out. Caleb Bennett lined into a double play at third as Quinn Luhr caught the line and doubled off Tyger. Holmberg then recorded a strikeout to end the threat.
Mitchell Holmberg pitched six innings and allowed just one run. Josh Mitchell pitched a scoreless seventh inning to close out the game.
"Overall, a great team effort," coach Jeff Peterson said. "Great pitching on Mitchell Holmberg's part. He was throwing strikes and having them put the ball in play which, defensively, we're strong. I think we're rolling on all cylinders right now. Vollmer's an outstanding pitcher, he's top-notch and we were right on it. We hit the ball, I think our timing looked good. This is a good place to be and not slumping now. There's no excuses now, we just got to go play."
Wilcox added another three-spot in the fourth. Quinn Luhr singled to lead off the inning and Ben MacDonald doubled to put runners on second and third. Coach Peterson was impressed with the hitting skills displayed with MacDonald, who just completed eighth grade at Ridgway Area Middle School.
"Ben MacDonald, for a young kid, outstanding job on his part hitting off of big pitching like that for his age right now," coach Peterson said. "He earned a playing spot here. I got to look at him in a big-game situation. We had some baserunning blunders that cost us a few runs, but overall we'll take it. It's one of those nights where things went our way. They're an even team, they're scrappers just like we are."
Frank Kocjancic reached on a Fox Township error to score Quinn Luhr and make the margin 4-0. Cole Peterson singled home MacDonald. Reynolds took advantage of a Fox Township error to reach first and Mitchell Holmberg did the same, reaching on a Fox Township error at first base to plate Cole Peterson as Wilcox led 6-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning.
Cameron Grumley singled with one out in the fifth and was pushed to third on a double by Quinn Luhr. MacDonald walked to load the bases and Kocjancic blooped a single into left center to add a run by tallying Grumley.
In the sixth, Joe Holmberg singled with one out. Zac Luhr was hit by a pitch and Cameron Grumley walked to load the bases. Quinn Luhr singled to plate Holmberg and MacDonald walked which allowed Zac Luhr to cross the plate. Cole Peterson was also walked to score Grumley and put the lead at 10-0.
Fox Township made Wilcox play the seventh inning by pushing a run across in its half of the sixth. Bob Vollmer led off the inning with double to right center field. After a flyout, Brenden Tyger singled. Joe McLaughlin grounded out to shortstop, scoring Vollmer.
In the seventh, Mitchell Holmberg was hit by a pitch. Joe Holmberg singled and Zac Luhr was hit by a pitch. Grumley hit a sacrifice fly to score Mitchell Holmberg.
Wilcox tallied 14 hits as a team. Quinn Luhr led Wilcox with three hits along with a run scored and one RBI. Cole Peterson reached base three times with two hits and two runs scored. Reynolds, Joe Holmberg and Grumley each had a pair of hits. Kocjancic led Wilcox with three RBI.