By Todd Stanford
For The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND -- Assuming that the Midd-West players were a little annoyed Monday that they were putting on their American Legion uniforms instead of donning their high school colors in the state playoffs, they certainly found a way to work off their anger.
The West Snyder Legion team swatted 10 hits -- four for extra bases -- in an 8-4, season-opening win over Sunbury/Northumberland at Pineknotter Park. Ryan Stuck went the distance to get the win.
West Snyder got the job done up and down the lineup in the opener of the doubleheader. Seven players got hits, and Colton Keister, Shane Connahan and Bailey Coder all recorded multi-hit games.
Keister and Connahan, the Nos. 1 and 2 batters, got on base eight times between them and scored three runs. The Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Nick Lorenz and Luke Zimmerman, knocked in five runs between them.
"The top two guys, they got on base quite a bit," West Snyder manager Chris Combs said. "And (Lorenz and Zimmerman) knocked them in when we needed them to."
Many of West Snyder's players were on the Midd-West H.S. team that lost 1-0 to Jersey Shore in Friday's District 4 Class AAA championship game; thus, they'd had plenty of recent game action, unlike the Sunbury/Norry players.
"I was a little worried about us having that long layoff from high school until now," Sunbury/Norry manager Travis Fisher said. "But we battled and kept it close. They really couldn't get the big hit until the sixth."
Despite its offensive barrage, West Snyder also stranded plenty of runners -- 12 for the game. In fact, they left the bases loaded in the first, second and fifth innings.
"A lot of times that comes back to bite you," Combs said. "(But) they picked it up when they had to."
Lorenz broke the game open with a bases-loaded single to center in the sixth. He was the first batter to face Sunbury/Norry relief pitcher Jean Turber, who was the fourth pitcher of the game for the home side.
"That was a fastball, down and away," said Lorenz, who attends East Juniata H.S.
That two-run single made the score 8-2, which was an added cushion when Sunbury/Norry scored two in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit in half.
"I just wanted to widen the gap for our pitcher," Lorenz said. "Give him a little bit more insurance."
Stuck fanned six and walked three to get the win.
"He threw a very good ball game," Combs said. "He had good control and mixed his stuff up well."
Jack Snyder got the start for Sunbury/Norry and lasted into the fourth before being relieved by Brandon Kashuba. Kashuba was replaced in the fifth by lefty Ben Dealy, who gave way to Turber in the sixth.
"I didn't want to see (Snyder) go the whole game," said Fisher, noting that Snyder hadn't pitched since March. "I wanted to get at least four (innings) out of him, and that's what happened."