The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 3, 2014

H.S. baseball: Lahr powers Shikellamy to league win over Mifflinburg

SUNBURY — Colby Lahr has a new home in the batting order, and Shikellamy’s opponents have a new reason to worry.

The junior catcher went 3-for-4 in Wednesday’s 9-5 win over Mifflinburg. He reached and scored in three innings as the Braves battled to overcome an early deficit, then punctuated the victory with a two-run double in the sixth.

“He got some fastballs he can drive, and the key is he didn’t miss them,” said Shikellamy coach Bobby Felmy. “He had a good night.”

No longer can teams breathe a sigh of relief after getting past Braves three-hole hitter Nick Dunn, the reigning Daily Item Player of the Year.

With Lahr batting clean-up — an otherwise subtle two-spot bump from No. 2 on the lineup card — it makes the middle of Shikellamy’s order much more potent.

“It gives me an opportunity to see the pitcher a lot more than other years,” said Lahr, “so I feel good about that.”

“Sitting behind Nick I think he gets a little more pitches to hit,” Felmy added. “He’s come a long way in his approach and what he’s looking to do with the baseball every time he gets up there.”

That was certainly true Wednesday when Mifflinburg accomplished something that hadn’t been done since May 11, 2012, which was hang an 0-for-4 collar on Dunn, a .444 career varsity hitter.

Wildcats starter Andy Aurand mostly tied up the junior with inside fastballs, coaxing pairs of pop-ups and flies to center. The first three of those outs ended innings, twice with a runner in scoring position.

So Lahr led off the home second, fourth and fifth innings, and each time he started a rally that got the Braves on the scoreboard and cut into Mifflinburg’s lead.

“I just stay with the same approach: to get on base and get something going again,” Lahr said of leading off an inning.

The Wildcats (0-3, 0-1 HAC-I) scored three times in the first on three hits and an error. Patrick Crissman’s two-run single with two outs, the first of his three hits, made it 3-0.

Lahr started the second with a rocket double to left field. After Jean Turber beat a sacrifice bunt, Lahr and Turber scored on consecutive fielder’s choice plays.

Mifflinburg promptly got the runs back in the third. Devin Hendrix (4-for-4) singled between walks that loaded the bases with no outs. Crissman lashed an RBI-single to center, and Kyle Stolzfus worked a walk to force in a run for a 5-2 lead.

An inning later, Lahr reached on an error and later scored on another miscue. Shikellamy then filled the bases on hits by Dylan Kremer and Josh Garringer and Mifflinburg’s third error of the inning. Kyle Leitzel followed with an infield single that scored two and put the Braves up 6-5.

“Without that inning we win,” said Mifflinburg coach Tom Church. “It’s a shame for (Aurand) pitching that well and not getting anything out of it. Right now it’s frustrating, but we’re young and we’re learning.”

Lahr singled and scored on Blake Bettleyon’s one-out hit in the fifth, and capped the scoring with a two-run double in the sixth.

“We were down three runs twice in the game — 3-0 in the first inning and 5-2 in the third — and that shows a good team that can battle back and just keep scratching and scratching,” said Felmy. “To put four runs up (in the fourth) and then two more in the bottom of the sixth was huge for us.”

Ryan Kenney threw three shutout innings of relief and earned the win. He limited the Wildcats to a single in each of the fourth and fifth innings, struck out four without a walk, and threw 28 of 43 pitches for strikes.

“He came in strong, and hit his spots,” said Lahr. “He hit the outside corner nicely, had good off-speed, and kept everything low that they couldn’t elevate it.”

“That’s been (Kenney’s) role from Game One: an inning here, an inning there — shut-down innings,” Felmy added. “He’s doing real well, filling the zone and pumping strikes.” Shikellamy’s Brandon Kashuba pitched into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, closing it with back-to-back strikeouts.

Leitzel had a pair of hits and two RBI for the Braves (3-0, 1-0 HAC-I), while Dylan Kremer also had two hits.

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