---- — By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
MIFFLINBURG -- Andrew Leitzel and Mike Fisher exchanged nods and good games in the parking lot of the Mifflinburg Intermediate School as dusk fell on Wednesday night.
It was a bond of mutual respect and some pretty impressive pitching.
Leitzel, a righty from Mifflinburg, threw 11 innings, while Fisher, a righty from Lewisburg, threw 10 1/3 innings in a West Branch League American Legion game, but nothing was decided as the game was called because of darkness with score tied at 2-2 after 12 innings.
"I'm a little tired," Leitzel said. "The last inning I was little tired, my arm feels good, but I knew I probably couldn't go any farther."
"I'm very tired. My head's even hurting," Fisher said. "It was a long game."
The game will be picked up in the top of the 13th inning when the two teams meet in Lewisburg on June 24th.
Leitzel went 11 innings, allowing only two earned runs (both in the first inning). He struck out 15 and didn't walk a batter. Leitzel had a stretch from a one-out double in the fourth inning by Joey Gardner until the end of the ninth, where he retired 16 of 17 hitters in a row on just 61 pitches. The lone hitter to reach — a Fisher single in the ninth — was erased on a one-pitch 4-6-3 double play. He threw 130 total pitches in the game.
"My command was real good and I was able to get the outside corner consistently," Leitzel said.
Fisher left in the 11th inning after a walk. He struck out 11, walked two and hit a batter. After Mifflinburg loaded the bases in the first with one out, Fisher escaped with two strikeouts to end the threat. Mifflinburg didn't threaten again until the bottom of the sixth.
"I always seem to struggle a little bit in the first inning, but after we got out of it, I felt real good, I knew I'd pitch well," Fisher said.
Leitzel got off to a slow start of his own as Lewisburg scored its only two runs in the top of the first. Andrew Stanko singled to open the game. Fisher followed with a single to right field. Stanko took third, while Fisher went to second on the throw to third.
Luke Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to score Stanko, while Fisher moved to third. Gardner followed with an RBI groundout for a 2-0 lead.
Mifflinburg finally got to Fisher in the bottom of the sixth. Brady Lloyd beat out an infield single with one out and stole second. With two outs, Logan Cooper doubled home Lloyd to cut the lead to 2-1. With the tying run on second with outs after a walk, Fisher ended the threat by getting a fly out to center field.
Mifflinburg sent the game into extras with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Cody Raker doubled to open the inning. After an out, Patrick Crissman followed with a double to tie the game. Dakota Noll followed with a single to center, but the Green Dragons nailed Crissman at home for the second out. After an error, Fisher got a fly out to end the seventh.
"It was definitely disappointing to give up the tying run," Fisher said. "But getting out of the inning gave us some momentum. I wasn't even feeling it in my arm (in the extra innings), it was all momentum and just throwing strikes."
Mifflinburg were able to get a runner to third with two outs in the ninth before Fisher notched a strikeout to end the threat.
Lewisburg best chance to score in extras came in the top of the 12th against Mifflinburg reliever Oakley Whitsel. An error and a single by Gardner put runners on first and second with one out, but Whitsel got a strikeout and a fielder's choice to end the inning.