Danville manager Harold Albertson had a runner attempt to advance to third base with no outs in the top of the seventh when a ball skipped by an infielder on a throw back to the infield.
When Sunbury-Northumberland catcher Colby Lahr tracked down the throw and got the first out of the bottom of the seventh, Albertson — whose team was down a run at the time — thought he had cost his team the game.
“I felt like I screwed up big time to call him over (to third),” Albertson said.
However, the Danville hitters picked up their manager, stringing together four more hits in the inning, including a game-tying single by No. 8-hitter Mark Mullery and the game-winning double by No. 9-hitter Kurtis Mordan, as Danville rallied for a 3-1 victory over Sunbury-Northumberland at Pineknotter Park.
“The kids bounced right back, those back-to-back hits were amazing,” Albertson said.
Danville improves to 8-6 on the year. Despite the loss, Sunbury-Northumberland (12-4) still clinched the top seed for the Susquehanna Valley American Legion League playoff tournament by virtue of Berwick’s 2-1, eight-inning loss to Bloomsburg.
Danville’s Zach Kozick and Sunbury/Northumberland’s Ross Wonsik hooked up in an outstanding pitchers’ duel for the first six innings of the game.
Wonsik faced the minimum through the first three inning as the only Danville hit was thrown out at second trying to advance on a poor throw. Danville managed just two runners to second base through six innings against Wonsik, both coming with two outs.
“Ross has pitched so well all year for us. He’s a freshman pitching against varsity competition,” Sunbury/Northumberland manager Travis Fisher said. “He’s pitched like this all year, but he’s had such bad luck. He’s ended up with most of our losses, but it’s certainly not because of him.”
Wonsik went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one earned on five hits. He struck out eight and walked just one, but after an unearned run in the first inning, Wonsik’s offense couldn’t come up with the big hit to break the game open.
Sunbury/Northumberland had a runner thrown out at home in the first, left runners stranded at second and third with one out in the fourth, and had a runner at third with one out in the fifth.
“We couldn’t finish innings,” Fisher said. “It just seems like we relax and don’t stay aggressive.”
After Kyle Leitzel singled, moved to second on a throwing error and was sacrificed to third in the fifth, Kozick retired the final nine Sunbury/Northumberland hitters in order on just 27 pitches.
“I think in the summer, I don’t pitch a whole lot,” Kozick said. “I finally felt comfortable and found it in the later innings.”
“If he gets through the first two innings, we’re in business,” Albertson said. “He learns the hitters as he goes through the lineup. He’s such a smart kid.”
Kozick finished with four strikeouts and one walk.
Danville finally broke through in the seventh inning. Dalton Lupini doubled to left to start the inning, but was thrown out at third. Dan Seebold then followed with a double to chase Wonsik.
Leitzel came on in relief and got a groundout to second for the second out, moving Seebold to third. Mullery followed with a single in the hole between short and third to tie the game.
Mordan doubled into the right-field corner to make it 2-1. A Tyler Fisher infield single and a Sunbury-Northumberland throwing error plated Mordan.
Line Mountain 1
Ian Weaver went the distance, throwing a five-hitter and allowing just one run as Selinsgrove won the SVALL game.
Aidan Greak, Colton Brouse, Tyler Cook and Manny Little all had extra-base hits for Selinsgrove (8-6).
Danville 9, Berwick 2
Carson Persing and Mason Raup each went 2-for-3 in Danville’s victory.
Daniel Knight got the win for Danville, which plays Snyder County today at 5:30.