Lower Burrell makes 1 hit count
J.R. Andrejcik's blue Mohawk hairstyle stands out in a crowd — much like Lower Burrell's only hit grabbed attention in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Highlands in the District 26 Little League All-Stars Juniors division finals.
Andrejcik clubbed a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning and pitched a scoreless top of the seventh to lift Lower Burrell to the championship.
"It feels awesome, to pick up the (championship) flag and do a lap with it," Andrejcik said. "I was a little nervous heading into my at-bat and wanted to make sure I swung at my pitch, not his pitch."
For the second consecutive game, Lower Burrell was facing elimination in the District 26 finals. Highlands held a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
With the bases loaded and one out, Andrejcik collected Lower Burrell's first and only hit of the game and propelled his team to its second come-from-behind win over Highlands in three days. Andrejcik hit Ryan Richards' pitch over center fielder Perry Shiring's head.
To start the rally in the sixth, Highlands pitcher Borkowski hit Lower Burrell's catcher Chad Tonks with a pitch. Following two walks and a fielder's choice, the bases were loaded with one out.
Highlands changed pitchers and brought in Richards, who allowed two runners to score on wild pitches and cut the lead to 3-2. That set up Andrejcik's game-winning, two-run hit.
Highlands dominated the game early and scored three runs in the first inning off Lower Burrell starting pitcher Shane Cornuet.
Nick Borkowski singled and drove in Richards. Later, Mike Helgert doubled to score Borkowski and Andrew Jewart and give Highlands a 3-0 lead.
After Highlands had a big first inning, neither team was able to score again until the sixth inning.
Borkowski pitched 51/3 innings and held Lower Burrell without a hit. Cornuet threw six innings and held Highlands scoreless for his last five.
Lower Burrell's coach Randy Tonks said having Cornuet settle down after a rough first inning was important.
"We were hurting pitching-wise, and to have the pitching step up was huge," Tonks said. "These kids really wanted to win."
Lower Burrell advanced to the Pennsylvania Section II Tournament and will play against an opponent to be determined at 2 p.m. Thursday in Moon Township.
"I want to continue to win," Andrejcik said. "I want to be able to get the next flag and run around the field with it."