The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 5, 2014

Baseball: Line Mountain holds off East Juniata in slugfest

COCOLAMUS — Kellan Masser listened to Line Mountain coach Jonathan Raker and followed his coach’s orders, sending the ball back up the middle.

Masser’s single scored Corey Paul from second to give Line Mountain a one-run lead in the eighth inning, which may have seemed temporary at the time considering what had happened in the previous innings.

Despite an offensive onslaught from both teams, Masser’s single proved to be the difference, as Line Mountain out-slugged East Juniata, 17-16, in an eight-inning battle between two of the top three teams in the Tri-Valley League.

“When Corey (Paul) stole second, I felt pretty confident up there,” Masser said. “All I had to do was hit a single, they threw me a curveball. I put it right back up the middle. It’s what you gotta do.”

The back-and-forth victory qualified Line Mountain for the District 4 playoffs and allowed the Eagles to keep pace with Upper Dauphin for a league title.

“It was definitely interesting,” Raker said with a laugh. “Lots of offense (but) not so good on the pitching part.”

Before the Eagles (10-2, 8-2 TVL) could celebrate, there were three outs left for East Juniata to try and rally once again.

The Tigers (7-3, 7-3 TVL) trailed 13-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, 16-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning and needed two runs in the last of the seventh to send it to the eighth inning, making the final three outs shaky ground for Line Mountain.

Jeremy Panebaker and Nick Lorenz hit back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the eighth to put the tying run in scoring position. With quick thinking, Zach Bobb slowly worked himself out of the jam.

On a grounder back to the mound, Bobb fired to third to send Panebaker back to the dugout on a force out and keep the tying run at second.

With one out, Bobb needed three more pitches to seal the win, catching a pop-up and inducing a fly out to end the game.

“(The end of the game) got very nerve-wracking,” Bobb said. “It was a good game.”

The scoreless half-inning was a rarity with both offenses crushing the ball to all fields and over the fence.

In the fourth inning and again in the fifth, the Tigers scored runs to keep the game going and did not go down without a fight with the backs against the wall in the bottom of the seventh.

The Tigers loaded the bases with one out, moved within a run on an error and tied the game on a sacrifice fly to deep center field. The Eagles escaped on a pop-up to first to end the inning.

Behind Bailey Coder, the Tigers quickly clawed their way back after the Eagles had stretched their lead to double digits, 13-2. Coder hit a grand slam in the fifth to pull East Juniata within seven and hit an RBI-single in the sixth as part of an eight-run rally to tie the game at 14.

Line Mountain scored eight runs in the second inning to jump in front, sending 13 hitters to the plate in the inning. The first six hitters reached safely in the inning for the Eagles and four hitters reached base with two outs to keep the inning alive.

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