---- — By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Selinsgrove found a solution for avoiding the bad defensive inning that ruined so many of its previous games.
With Alex Moyer retiring Shikellamy batters so quickly Friday, the Seals didn't have enough time for things to go sideways.
Moyer sat down 14 consecutive Braves -- a remarkable string that bridged the second and seventh innings -- and Selinsgrove backed him with a four-run fifth for its second win in as many days, 4-2.
"I was hitting a groove, just hitting my spots with the fastball and mixing it up with with curveball," said Moyer, who didn't allow a hit after a two-run second inning. "Mostly just make sure I hit my spots and good things happen. They didn't hit me too hard."
Shikellamy's Jean Turber led off the game with single through the left side, and Matt Snyder had a similar hit with one down in the second. Nine-hole hitter Jordan Garringer had the other knock, a clutch, two-out liner to right-center that scored the game's first run. Shik then tacked on with a double steal and Tylor Dzwonchyk crossing the plate before a bang-bang play at first ended the inning.
That was all, however, against Moyer save a one-out infield error in the seventh that halted his streak at 14 consecutive Braves retired.
"If he's throwing strikes, he's effective. He's had some really good outings this year," said Seals coach Brent Beiler. "I was thinking -- with a game (Thursday) and two (today) -- I'd really like for him to take us the whole way. It was great that he was able to get the job done. That was a great performance."
Moyer zipped through the third, fourth, fifth and six innings with just 32 pitches, a mind-boggling total that helped him come in at 81 for the game (55 strikes). He had four strikeouts and walked just one.
"I knew they had some big guys early in the lineup that I wanted to be careful with," he said, "get some good pitches on them and work ahead if I could."
Shikellamy starter Ryan Kenney threw a nice game, as well. The junior righty pitched around a walk and an error in the first inning and a single and an error in the second through four scoreless innings. In the fifth, he gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Shaffer, and then a bunt was misplayed putting two on with no outs for the top of the order.
Beiler elected to bunt again, sacrificing leadoff man Tyler Cook to put two runners in scoring position, and Isaiah Rapp cashed in by splitting the gap in left-center with a two-run double.
"Our guys were sensing ... it seemed like, that the 2-0 lead was almost too much for them to overcome," said Beiler. "We just needed something simple, like a bunt, to move guys over and then a big hit by Rapp. That was huge."
Even bigger was a two-out homer by Colton Brouse, his second bomb in as many days, which made it 4-2.
"The big inning doesn't happen unless you give them more than one out," said Braves coach Bobby Felmy. "We booted a couple balls in key situations, and they capitalized on that one.
"It's the dreaded fifth inning for us ... We've won every game up until the fifth inning, except for Mifflinburg (a 7-2 loss April 5). We've just got to play seven."
Selinsgrove scored in the nick of time as sophomore Brandon Kashuba took the ball for Shikellamy in the sixth and threw smoke for two innings, pitching around a pair of two-out walks in the seventh, to keep the Braves within two.
"I'm not worried about pitching," said Felmy. "Our pitchers work their butts off every day; we're getting quality starters and quality relief innings. They're doing their job."
Selinsgrove (3-8, 2-6 HAC-I) could see the rival Braves (3-7, 2-5) again today in the Shikellamy Tournament, postponed from April 13. The Seals play Blue Mountain at Pineknotter Park at 11 a.m., while Shik hosts Lake-Lehman at the same time. The title and consolation games follow.
"We're turning it on a little bit, but most of the games we lost were close games," said Moyer. "Now we're starting to get it together and win some ballgames."