By Scott Dudinskie
The Daily Item
Perhaps the most impressive thing Justin Geedey did in a thoroughly impressive start Thursday was cork his emotion.
The Selinsgrove right-hander kept an even keel throughout three hitless innings, one rocky frame and a late home run that erased any margin for error.
With the game on the line in the seventh, he was this close on a two-strike pitch to Mifflinburg standout Brady Lloyd. He didn’t get the strike call but, again, he didn’t let that throw him. Instead, he came right back with a wicked curveball for a strikeout.
Soon after, Seals third baseman Isaiah Rapp snared a rocket for the game’s final out, and Geedey popped the cork. He howled a couple times and emphatically spiked the ball when Rapp flipped it to him.
A day after being no-hit by archrival Shikellamy, Selinsgrove rebounded with a big HAC-I win over the Wildcats, 4-3.
“It feels great. Nothing better,” Geedey said of throwing a six-hitter in his first work since April 9. “I always work on my pitches and my location in practice, and when I do get the opportunity I jump on it.
“I try to do the best I can for my team. We need to get wins, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Selinsgrove won for the second time during a stretch of four games in five days. The Seals (5-6, 3-4 HAC-I) host Milton today.
Mifflinburg (3-8, 1-6) missed a chance to resuscitate its playoff hopes, following a big win over Montoursville a day earlier. The Wildcats have made a habit of coming up a run or two short in games started by ace Andrew Leitzel. The senior allowed two earned runs on eight hits and struck out three without a walk, but was still saddled with the loss Thursday.
“They didn’t come ready to play,” said Wildcats coach Tom Church. “They were flat, a little bit of a hangover from (Wednesday’s) win. You got to come to play every day.”
Despite a sluggish start, Mifflinburg had a golden opportunity trailing by a run in the seventh. Nine-hole hitter Daniel Crossland reached on an infield hit to turn over the lineup to Lloyd and Brian Zimmerman with one out.
Lloyd had flied out in each of three previous at-bats, including a long blast to right-center tracked down by Aiden Greak with one on the third. Geedey got ahead of Lloyd 1-2 and then tried to paint the outside corner with a belt-high strike. He figured it couldn’t have been more than an inch off the plate, but Lloyd looked it off and the ump evened the count.
“I was thinking, when he didn’t get that call, that, This is where they get the big hit. I was thinking about the Murphy’s Law aspect of it,” said Seals coach Brent Beiler. “But what Geedey did there says a lot about him.”
Geedey, knowing he still had a pitch to play with, threw a 60-foot hook that had Lloyd on his front foot, trying in vain to spoil it.
“I wanted that (1-2) pitch,” Geedey admitted, “but if you don’t get that call you just know you’ve got to do the same exact thing over again. If you keep doing it, you’re going to get the call.”
Geedey struck out six and walked just one, but that pass loaded the bases after consecutive two-out hits by Devin Hendrix and Dillan Weikel in the fourth. Mifflinburg freshman Trey Smith followed with an opposite-field liner to left that scored two and tied the score at 2.
In the bottom of the inning, Ian Weaver’s second two-out hit (on the heels of an RBI-double in the second) put two on ahead of Jake Nylund. The Seals freshman catcher lined a two-run single just over ’Cats shortstop Kyle Stolzfus to make it 4-2.
After two trips through the order, the bottom four batters in Selinsgrove’s lineup were 5-for-8 with three RBIs.
“That was big,” said Beiler. “Guys that weren’t even in the lineup (Wednesday) got two hits, back-to-back in the second. (Zach) Hendricks and Weaver got the job done, and Nylund had two hits so that’s some nice, little bottom-of-the-order punch to help us out. I’m pretty happy with that.”
Hendrix’s solo shot in the sixth, just right of dead center, pulled Mifflinburg within 4-3. Weikel (like Hendrix 2-for-3) followed with a hit but Geedey stranded him with a strikeout and comebacker.
“We hit the ball hard, right at them, a number of times,” said Church. “That’s the way it goes.”