JOHNSONBURG – Johnsonburg baseball remained undefeated on the season with an 8-1 victory over Bradford Saturday at Knothole Area Recreational Park.
The Owls (1-15) opened the scoring with a run in the second inning but the 1-0 lead would be short-lived. Johnsonburg would score three in the home half of the second to take a lead the Rams would not relinquish. Taylor Feronti opened the inning with a single to left center field. After a strikeout, Feronti was awarded second on a balk. Devon Zilcoski was walked and Cole Peterson singled home Feronti to tie the game at 1-all. Cameron Grumley walked to load the bases. After a strikeout, Johnsonburg used patience at the plate as Quinn Luhr drew a bases-loaded walk to score Zilcoski and CJ Herbstritt did the same to plate Peterson from third for a 3-1 Rams lead.
Kyle Sheldon started the Johnsonburg threat in the third with a walk. He stole second before Zilcoski walked and Sheldon scored on Peterson's second straight RBI single in as many innings. Peterson finished with a 3-for-5 showing and two RBI.
A Grumley walk again loaded the bases but the Rams couldn't capitalize again as a strikeout and a fielder's choice would leave Johnsonburg with just one run in the third. Johnsonburg had the bases loaded in each of the first three innings but scored just four runs in that stretch.
"I thought we hit the ball enough to score some runs but we still left a lot of guys on base," Johnsonburg assistant coach Jim Holmberg said. "We might have been able to end this thing a lot earlier if we would have hit the ball better in 2-out situations. It's coming to come back to bite us if we do that against somebody in the playoffs. We got to start getting some key hits when we need the key hits and score some runs. Bradford did a fine job keeping us from getting them."
In the first inning, Grumley was hit by a pitch as was Luhr. Herbstritt reached on an infield single to second base to load the bases with two outs. Bradford starting pitcher Nunzio Cavallero would get out of the jam with a 1-3 groundout to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Feronti kickstarted the fourth inning with a double and scored on a Sheldon singled for a 5-1 lead.
Grumley walked in the fifth inning and then stole second. Mitchell Holmberg brought Grumley around with a single. Luhr singled to score Holmberg but was erased on the basepaths. Herbstritt followed with a double and Frank Kocjancic reached on a Bradford error which allowed Herbstritt to give the Rams an 8-1 lead.
Luhr pitched a complete game for Johnsonburg. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out six.
"Quinn pitched real well the whole game," coach Holmberg said. "He threw a lot of strikes. The defense, whatever they did hit, we seemed to do a good job of making the plays. That helped a lot, keeping them off the base."
Coach Holmberg said the strong outing for Luhr is a confidence booster for the junior pitcher after allowing seven runs in three innings against Ridgway last Monday.
"The last time he was out against Ridgway, he struggled a little bit," coach Holmberg said. "This is a good confidence-builder to get the confidence back. He pitched real well and didn't throw a lot of pitches so keeping him in the whole time was easy."
Bradford's lone run came in the second inning as Sawyer Packard singled to score Mike Wilber.
Herbstritt and Feronti each had two hits and each had a double.
Johnsonburg (16-0) is scheduled to play at Brockway for a 7 p.m. game tonight. The Rams are scheduled to play at DuBois Central Catholic at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon to conclude the regular season.