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Allegheny Valley Bucs fall 4-3 to Allegheny Athletics

| Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 2:13 p.m.

There's nothing quite like the sound of a baseball hitting a wooden bat.

The pitcher winds up, and then - crack!

The young men on the Allegheny Valley Bucs baseball team get to hear that sound all the time. The Bucs play in a collegiate-level wooden bat league, although coach Kevin Giza said he doesn't care if a kid is a freshman in high school or a freshman in college, "If he can play, he should play."

Giza was referring to shortstop Cameron Balego, who just finished up his junior year at Central Catholic.

This is the first season that Allegheny Valley has fielded a team in this particular league. They originally were in the federation league, which is for players who have graduated college or are ex-minor leaguers.

The team is in the middle of the pack in the league standings, and they recently faced off with a team right behind them in the hunt for the playoffs, the Allegheny Athletics.

Nathan Junk pitched the entire game for the Bucs, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks in seven innings. But the Bucs' bats couldn't string together enough hits en route to a 4-3 loss at North Allegheny.

Junk left a runner stranded at third base in the bottom of the first inning on a nice play from the shortstop Balego, and in the top of the second inning the Bucs took the first lead of the game with an RBI double down the right-field line off the bat of second baseman Tyler Craig.

The Athletics answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning on an error by the left fielder and a base hit to drive the man in from second base.

In the bottom of the fourth inning Junk allowed a single to center field and a two-run homer that just cleared the left-field fence to give the Athletics a 3-1 lead.

The Bucs battled back, however, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a single to right field by Craig, a walk to leadoff man Darryl Robinson and a bases-clearing two-run double by centerfielder Stephen Vranka.

That was all the Bucs offense could muster, however.

After leaving the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, the Athletics scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning on a single to right field after a walk and a stolen base moved the runner into scoring position.

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