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Ligonier Valley baseball downs Saltsburg

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier Valley High School baseball pitcher Nick Payne throws a fastball at a recent game. Taken 4/12/2013 at Ligonier Valley High School field.

The Ligonier Valley High School Rams baseball team won a 15-3 away victory over Saltsburg in six innings and a 7-1 home victory over Northern Cambria, extending the team's winning streak to six games.

At Saltsburg, the Rams scored four runs in the second inning, followed by five in the third, and three runs in the fourth and fifth. Saltsburg scored three runs in the third inning with a three-run home run. Andrew Schultz pitched the entire game for the Rams, striking out seven batters, while only giving up two hits and two walks. Ryan Torrance and Matt Ryan led scoring for Ligonier with three runs each, followed by Jake Nemeth and Schultz with two. Ty Ferlin, Luke Ferlin, Rick Ross, Jordan Jones and Zach Yeskey each scored a run, with Yeskey hitting a three-run home run in the third.

Taking on Northern Cambria, Billy Elliot pitched five innings, striking out eight batters. Head coach John Jones said his team's strong defense kept them in the game where the Rams went four innings at bat and they did not score. “We preach pitching and defense. Good thing it works,” Jones said.

In Ligonier's closest game of the year, neither team scored until the bottom of the third inning. Nemeth hit a single and was moved to second by a Ty Ferlin sacrifice bunt. Nemeth then scored when Luke Ferlin hit a double. The Rams scored again in the fifth. Ty Ferlin was given first base after being hit by a pitch. He stole second and third base and was batted when Yeskey grounded out at first.

Yeskey replaced Elliot on the pitching mound in the top of the sixth inning. The Colts scored their only run of the game in the sixth. With the bases loaded, one out and the score 3-1, a Northern Cambria batter hit a ground ball straight to Yeskey, who threw the ball to catcher Rick Ross, who then threw the batter out at first to end the inning.

Yeskey said he knew the hit was going to be a double play right off the bat and knew it would be a big play in a close game. “It changed the momentum of the game. They had momentum and we cut them off right there,” Yeskey commented.

“It was huge,” Jones admitted. “Pitching and defense we preach it. That's a tough throw for the catcher and Rick did it perfect.”

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Alex Tutino singled, followed by a double by Jones, which put the runners on second and third base. Then Northern Cambria pitched and loaded the bases walking Nick Payne, then gave the Rams a run by hitting Ty Ferlin again. Luke Ferlin hit a single which brought in Jones. A single from Yeskey batted in Payne and Ty Ferlin, sending Luke Ferlin to third base and forced a pitching change. The Colts loaded the bases again, walking Torrance and Ferlin scored off of a sacrifice fly from Ross.

Jones said it was Tutino, who came in as a replacement, who helped take the momentum of the game after the double play in the sixth. Northern Cambria was unable to overcome the deficit and the Rams came away with the victory.

The Rams will play host 4 p.m. Friday to United and participate Saturday at the Boswell Jaycees Tournament. They will then travel Tuesday to Penns Manor and be at home May 2 for a game with Homer Center.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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