Rams shut out St. Marys 7-0 to take county title

The Johnsonburg Rams put in another dominating effort on Saturday morning at Berwind Park, shutting out the St. Marys Area Flying Dutchmen 7-0 to win the 2012 Elk County Boys' Baseball Tournament title. The Rams spread their runs out over their six times at bat, scoring one in each of the first two innings, two in the third, and three in the sixth.Johnsonburg assistant coach Jim Holmberg credited his team's good pitching and defense with contributing to their victory in this year's tournament. "Both days were pretty much the same," Holmberg said. "We've been winning a lot of games with pitching and defense, but we haven't been hitting the ball very well. But the last two days we put together some good hitting along with our good pitching and defense. Everybody contributed the last couple days." While the Rams got their opening-round game against Ridgway in before the rain on Friday afternoon, the Dutchmen played late into the evening in their victory against Elk County Catholic, something St. Marys coach Tony Azzato indicated might have hurt his squad a bit as they faced the Rams for the championship at 10 a.m. Saturday. "It was a long day yesterday (Friday)," Azzato said. "We didn't get out of here until 9:30 p.m. last night and were back here at 8 a.m. today. I give my kids credit for coming and playing. We gave ourselves the opportunity to put some runs on the board, but we didn't execute well enough."Still, Azzato said he was happy with his team's effort in the tournament. "A lot of people didn't expect us to be in the championship game. We were still living a little bit on cloud nine from that win the night before and the dramatic fashion (in which we won it) in the seventh inning. I'm pleased with the kids, we just need to execute a little bit more," Azzato said. "We'll be all right. It's been a long couple of weeks, and it's nice next week we only have one game so we've got a lot of time to work on some fundamental stuff."Cole Peterson went the distance on the mound for the Rams on Saturday, giving up two hits, walking two, and striking out seven. "Cole's pitching today and yesterday was big," Holmberg said. "That's why he was picked for the All-Tourney Team, because [of not] only his pitching, but he had some really big hits both days. Quinn (Luhr) also pitched yesterday a couple innings and did well, and he hit the ball two days in a row, so that was pretty good." Branden Tyger worked six and two-thirds innings for the Dutchmen, giving up six hits, walking four, and striking out six. Jerri Newell worked the final third of an inning, giving up one hit and striking out one. Of the Rams' seven hits, CJ Herbstritt led the way with a two-run home run in the third inning and a double in the sixth. "He hits them like that in practice an awful lot, but that's the first one he's actually hit in a game," Holmberg said of Herbstritt's home run. "That was big, that got everybody pumped up pretty good, and then he came back with another nice double on top of that." Mitchell Holmberg also had a double for the Rams, Quinn Luhr recorded a pair of singles, and Frank Kocjancic and Devon Zilcoski both singled.The Dutchmen's two hits came on singles by Mitch Meyer and Luke Schreiber. Peterson sent St. Marys' batters down in order in the top of the first before walking for the Rams to start the home half of the inning. After Peterson stole second, Cameron Grumley advanced to first after being hit by a pitch, and both picked up another spot as Mitchell Holmberg walked to load the bases. A single by Quinn Luhr scored Peterson and kept the bases loaded, but the next three batters all were struck out by Tyger, ending the inning with the Rams on top 1-0. The Dutchmen got their first base runner in the top of the second as Brandon Vollmer reached base on an error and later stole second. That's as far as he would get, though, as the next three batters went down in order, keeping St. Marys from taking away the Rams' advantage. Johnsonburg pushed another run across the plate in the bottom of the inning. An error allowed Kyle Sheldon to pick up a pair of bases for the Rams. It looked like he might be left stranded as the next two batters went down in order, but another error by the Dutchmen not only allowed Grumley to reach second but scored Sheldon as well. With Holmberg up to bat, Grumley got too far off the base and was picked off by Dutch catcher Brandon Vollmer, ending the inning with Johnsonburg extending their lead to 2-0. St. Marys recorded the first of their two hits in the top of the third. With one out, Luke Schreiber singled and later stole second. After another out, he was joined on base by Dalton Kline, who walked. Both were left stranded, however, as the next batter struck out. In the bottom half of the inning, Holmberg, who had been up to bat for the Rams when the last inning ended, started things off with a double. With one out, CJ Herbstritt came up to bat and promptly hit a home run, making the Rams' lead 4-0. Peterson sent the Dutchmen down in order in the top of the fourth, but Johnsonburg did not fare much better in the home half of the inning. With one out, Devon Zilcoski singled and advanced to second on an error that allowed Peterson to reach base. A fielder's choice by Grumley saw Zilcoski bring up the second out as he was thrown out at third, and Holmberg flied out to end the inning with the Rams unable to extend their lead. The Dutchmen again went down in order in the top of the fifth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Herbstritt reached base after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single by Frank Kocjancic. Herbstritt picked up another base as Taylor Feronti flied out to right field, but the Rams were again unable to pick up any more runs as Kyle Sheldon hit the ball straight to Tyger for the third out. Mitch Meyer started off the top of the sixth with a single for the Dutchmen and advanced to second as Kline was thrown out at first. With two outs, Vollmer walked to put another runner on base for St. Marys, but Justin Beimel was also unable to beat the throw to first and brought about the third out. Johnsonburg scored their final three runs in the home half of the inning. Zilcoski walked and then waited at first as the next two batters flied out and struck out, respectively. He then advanced to second as Holmberg walked. Both were hit home on a single by Luhr. The Dutchmen tried changing pitchers to get the third out, switching from Tyger to Jerri Newell. Herbstritt doubled, scoring Luhr, before Newell struck out the next batter to end the inning with the Rams on top 7-0. Peterson again sent the Dutchmen down in order in the top of the seventh, securing the Rams' victory and the title in this year's Elk County Boys' Baseball Tournament.Cole Peterson and Quinn Luhr were both named to the All-Tourney team for the Rams, while Mitch Meyer was selected for the Dutchmen. The Rams remain undefeated on the season, while the Dutchmen are now 5-11. Johnsonburg will host Ridgway today at 4:15 p.m. St. Marys will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Clearfield to take on the Bisons in a 4:30 p.m. contest. St. Marys 0Mitch Meyer 3-0-1, Dalton Kline 2-0-0, Branden Tyger 3-0-0, Brandon Vollmer 2-0-0, Justin Beimel 3-0-0, Robert Watts 3-0-0, Rudy Gleixner 3-0-0, David Aul 3-0-0, Luke Schreiber 2-0-1. Totals 24-0-2. Johnsonburg 7Cole Peterson 3-1-0, Cameron Grumley 3-0-0, Mitchell Holmberg 2-2-1, Quinn Luhr 4-1-2, CJ Herbstritt 3-2-2, Frank Kocjancic 4-0-1, Taylor Feronti 3-0-0, Kyle Sheldon 3-0-1, Dylon Delong 0-0-0, Devon Zilcoski 2-1-1. Totals 27-7-7. Score by innings RSt. Marys 000 000 0 0Johnsonburg 112 003 x 7