Baseball team nabs 2 more victories
The Ligonier Valley Rams baseball team won a 15-3 away victory against Saltzburg in six innings and a 7-1 home victory against Northern Cambria, extending the team's winning streak to six games.
At Saltzburg, the Rams scored four runs in the second inning, followed by five in the third, and three runs in the fourth and fifth. Saltzburg 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 and 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 where 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. Jones said he was nervous about the change, saying Yeskey takes a long time to warm up before getting into his pitching rhythm.
“Once Zach gets warm, he's lights out, but it took him a little while to get stretched out,” Jones said.
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 said.
“It was huge,” Jones said. “Pitching and defense, we preach it. Zach knew what to do, the ball came right to him, boom, boom. That's a tough throw for the catcher and Rick did it perfect. He didn't throw it hard, he just lobbed it over the kid's head, and Jordan was ready for the tag. That worked out well.”
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. The Northern Cambria pitched then 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.
“Alex is one of our role players. He's chomping at the bit to get more playing time, I know he is, but he is unselfish; he's going to do what's best for the team,” Jones said.
Northern Cambria was unable to overcome the deficit, and the Rams came away with the victory.
The Rams play host to Homer Center 4 p.m. Thursday and travel to Marian Center Area High School on Tuesday.
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.