By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- The pitch got away from him as he threw it and Jersey Shore pitcher Chris Glunk watched as it nipped Shamokin's Josiah Miller.
Miller tossed his bat aside and trotted down the first base line to load the bases for the Indians with no outs in the sixth inning.
Shamokin was trailing Jersey Shore by two runs in the District 4 Class AAA semifinal game at Bowman Field on Saturday and this looked like it was going to be their time to get something going offensively.
That's when Bulldogs coach Matt O'Brien went to the mound and decided he'd make a pitching change, bringing in Travis Eiswerth.
The Indians' rally threat lasted just two batters as Eiswerth struck out Mike Rodarmel before Brody Young hit a shot into center field that ended up resulting in a double-play due to some base running confusion to get Jersey Shore out of harms' way.
That sixth inning turned out to be Shamokin's best chance at scoring and taking a lead as Jersey Shore left Williamsport with a 2-0 win on Saturday to move onto the District 4 Class AAA finals.
Young's shot looked as if Boone Costa had successful dove and caught it, but he came up just short on the attempt. The confusion resulted in all the base runners thinking they had to tag up before going and getting caught in the base paths. Jersey Shore got the quick force out at second before tagging out Nate Mallett between second and third.
"It was just a good attitude and max effort and I think they showed that," Jersey Shore coach Matt O'Brien said. "(Costa) did a good job and when plays like that happens, heck breaks loose. It's normally 'where do I throw the ball?' and they did a good enough job to know where to get the ball and go from there."
The Indians (10-11) left a runner stranded in six different innings and managed to collect just five singles in the loss off Glunk and Eiswerth. No Indians batter had more than one hit. The pitching duo by Shore (16-3) combined for 11 strikeouts, 8 coming from the arm of Glunk.
"We didn't get the big hit and credit to them. Their pitcher, until the last inning, was in control," Shamokin coach Billy Clark said of Glunk. "He was throwing the ball where he wanted to, throwing strikes at the knees with all three pitches (and) keeping us off balance. We didn't get many good swings on him. They're a good ball club. They caught the balls that we did hit to them. They outplayed us."
Shamokin had a chance to put runs on the board in the fourth inning when Mallett and Miller each started the inning off with consecutive singles. Rodarmel struck out the next at-bat before Brody Young hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Shamokin's Austin Fry went all seven innings on the mound and allowed just one extra base hit in the loss.
Jersey Shore jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Zach Miller hit a hard shot between second and first into shallow right field to drive in Costa, who beat out a throw to reach on a short single.
The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the fourth thanks to an error in right field, allowing Zach Depasqua -- who reached on a single into left -- to cross the plate.
"It's a game of inches. I'm proud of our guys," Clark said. "They're a very good team and not a whole lot of people expected us to win that game, but we had opportunities. We just didn't capitalize."
Jersey Shore faces the winner of the Mifflinburg/Midd-West game for the right to claim the District 4 Class AAA banner and play in the PIAA state tournament.