---- — By Eric Shultz
For The Daily Item
SHAMOKIN -- The top three spots of Selinsgrove's order was on fire from beginning to end Wednesday.
The consistent hitting eliminated any problems that could have occurred from a blown opportunity early on for Post 25. Even though Shamokin/Mount Carmel starting pitcher Austin Fry kept Ryan Wagner, Tyler Cook and Justin Keiser stranded on base to end the first inning, the three continued to bat well to lead Selinsgrove to a 13-1 victory Wednesday.
"We did all the little things right. They saw a lot of pitches, they got into the bullpen pretty early," said Selinsgrove coach Bryan Mohr. "They executed well -- they got hits in timely positions, which we haven't been doing the entire year. Things are starting to turn around for us, and I think we're looking up right now."
Selinsgrove (3-3) started the scoring in the third inning. Wagner led off the frame with a single and was moved to second on a bunt from Cook before stealing third.
Keiser then sent Wagner home on a single and crossed the plate later in the inning on a grounder up the middle by Aidan Greak.
The next inning, Wagner picked up an RBI on a single and scored on an error.
The top of Post 25's order also highlighted the team's five-run sixth inning, which began with Michael Pupo coming to the mound in relief for Shamokin/Mount Carmel.
Wagner, Cook and Keiser all hit RBI doubles to start the rally's scoring. Keiser added another run when Austin Benner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Kyle Pannebaker then tacked on the inning's final run when Aaron Shaffer drew a bases-loaded walk.
Overall, Wagner went 4-for-4, scoring four runs and driving in two. Cook ended the day 3-for-3 with two runs and one RBI, and Keiser went 2-for-3 with three runs and 2 RBIs.
"We've been shuffling things around. We don't have anything set -- it all depends on who's there on any given night," Mohr said. "But we've been playing around with the lineup a little bit, and we're starting to see results from where we're putting guys in certain spots."
Although the Stripes and Strikes (1-4) kept Selinsgrove scoreless until the third inning, Fry was in danger of facing an uphill battle right away. Wagner started the game with a walk and was moved to third base when Cook singled and Keiser also walked.
But Fry struck out the next three batters to retire the side. Then he struck out two while sitting Selinsgrove down in order in the second frame before it broke through in the third.
"We've done that a couple of times this year and it's bitten us in the behind," Mohr said of the scoreless first. "It was early on, so I wasn't pressing the panic button too quick. It would've been nice to get something there, but the rest took care of itself because the guys kept doing what they were doing early on."
Meanwhile, Shamokin/Mount Carmel could never quite figure out Colin Rice on the mound.
Shamokin/Mount Carmel assistant coach Dave Langton said the team swings at a lot of bad pitches, which is something it has been working on.
Through five innings, Rice allowed only three hits. The Stripes and Strikes then saw a scoring opportunity with the bases loaded in the sixth, but a fly out by Taylor Halladay turned into an inning-ending double play when Tyler Thompson was thrown out before tagging up at third.
The Stripes and Strikes only run came in the seventh, when Theo Deptula hit a single down the left field line to score pinch-hitter Joe Deptula.
"(Rice) hasn't played baseball for a couple years," Mohr said of his pitcher. "He decided he was going to come out here this Legion season...He did an excellent job. I can't ask for any more than that."