The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 25, 2013

Little League baseball: Lynn, defense help change Danville Juniors' fortunes


Daily Item

---- — By Todd Hummel

For The Daily Item

NEW BERLIN -- It had the feel of one of those days for the Danville Junior Division All-Stars on Tuesday afternoon.

During warm-ups at the New Berlin Recreation Complex for a winners bracket game with Shikellamy-Acorn Little League, Danville didn't look crisp at all.

Add to the fact that starting pitcher Zach Lynn wasn't the original starter and didn't know he was getting the ball before arriving at the field, which left him short time to prepare to pitch.

So when two of the first three batters reached base via a walk and a hit batsman by Lynn, things didn't seem to be getting any better for Danville.

However, baseball can be a funny game.

The next Shikellamy-Acorn hitter lined into an inning-ending double play and -- just like that -- Danville's fortunes changed.

Lynn allowed only two hits into the sixth inning, while his defense was flawless behind him. Danville remained undefeated in the Area II Junior Tournament with a 7-2 victory.

"(The coaches) weren't pleased (before the game). Absolutely (we were worried about a letdown)," Danville manager Bob Riley said. "We've been practicing for the last two weeks and I told them I was going to beat them up for those two weeks, but when we came out here it was time to have fun. The kids responded and came out and played well."

With one out in the top of the first, Brendon Herrold was hit by a pitch and Logan Kerr worked a walk for Shik-Acorn. With clean-up hitter Dylan Harry (who later homered in the game) at the plate, things didn't look good for Danville and Lynn. And for a split-second it sounded like things would get worse as Harry crushed a pitch, but it was right at Danville second baseman Jordan Bickhart. He made the catch and flipped to first as the runner had no chance to get back and prevent the inning-ending double play.

Lynn settled in after that, pitching until one out in the sixth inning. He retired the side in order in the second, third and fifth innings, only running into trouble in the fourth. He finished the game with three strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter, while allowing only two hits.

"We were a little bit lazy (during warm-ups), but after the start of the game we looked good," Lynn said. "The first inning is always when I have trouble, but after that I usually calm down and throw strikes."

Danville took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Peyton Riley doubled and scored on Travis Webb's single. Webb stole second and later came around to score on a throwing error. The inning could have been much worse for Shik-Acorn, but center fielder Trey Cunningham robbed Austin Shoemaker of an extra-base hit by crashing into the fence to make an inning-ending grab.

Danville broke open the game in the third inning. Mike Kopelcheck struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch. After two more strikeouts, Shik-Acorn had a chance to get out of the inning without any damage when Hunter Marcheski quickly picked up two strikes. However, Marcheski fouled off several pitches before finding one to his liking and lined the ball to left field for an RBI single and a 3-0 lead.

Danville was able to add two more runs in the inning on a Liam Weaver RBI single and an error for a 5-0 lead.

Shik-Acorn finally got to Lynn in the top of the fourth. Herrold led off with a double, the team's first hit of the game. After an out, Harry launched a two-run homer just left of dead-center to cut the lead to 5-2.

Lynn returned to form, though, retiring five of the final six hitters he faced, before leaving in the sixth when he reached his pitch count.

Danville added two more runs in the fifth. Webb walked and scored on Marcheski's triple. Marcheski then scored on a Weaver groundout for a 7-2 lead.

Nate Dealy didn't pitch badly for Shik-Acorn. He allowed four earned runs, while striking out nine and walking one.