By Kenny Varner
ALTOONA – One big inning.
The Mifflin County baseball team fell to Altoona Friday night after a 7-run fourth inning.
Trailing 9-0 in the fifth, the Huskies battled as they notched runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh before running out of time and falling 9-3 at Mansion Park.
“We didn’t quit tonight. It seems to be the story of the season with one bad inning. Credit the guys, they never quit and kept battling, said MIfflin County manager John McGonigle. “We have to find a way to avoid that. We have a busy week next week with four games so we start on Monday with Williamsport and prepare for that one.”
Landen Eichhorn was the Huskies only multiple hitter going 2-for-2 and scoring two of MIfflin County’s three runs.
Xavier Smith notched a hit and an RBI in the loss.
Altoona was led offensively by Matt Moyer (2-for-3, 2 runs), Erik Rhodes (2-for-4 2 RBIs), Connor Blough (2-for-4, run) and Michael Riccio (2-for-3, RBI, run.)
Picking up the win for Altoona was left handed Erik Rhodes.
Rhodes’ pickoff move to first proved to be too tricky for Husky runners as he caught runners off balanced three times in the contest, resulting in pickoffs.
In the bottom of the first, the Mountain Lions struck early.
Moyer led off the inning quickly, smashing a hit into center. Aidan Steinbugl followed with a single to down third, putting runners on first and second.
With one out, Rhodes brought in both Moyer and Steinbugl to take the early 2-0 advantage.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the first, MIfflin County slugger Jaxson Pupo roped a soft liner to opposite field to give the Huskies its first hit of the game. However, Pupo was left stranded at third.
Both defenses played tough in the second and third.
But in the fourth Altoona made the most of their opportunities plating seven runs.
Despite trailing 9-0, the Huskies refused to give up.
In the top of the fifth, the Huskies got on the board.
Eichhorn got the inning started as he singled into left field. He moved up to second on a wild pitch, setting the stage for Smith. Smith roped a 2-out single into center, making it a 9-1 contest.
Defensively, the Huskies shrugged of danger in the bottom of the inning when the Mountain Lions had the bases loaded and one out, the Huskies went to the bullpen and brought Dougie Weaver in to put out the flames. A double play by the Huskies did just that, thwarting off a potential game ending inning, allowing the Huskies to keep the game alive.
Like in the previous inning, MIfflin County notched another run. It would be Eichhorn that would make it home thanks to a Tucker Gill hit and a fielding miscue after the run allowed Eichhorn to score.
Weaver then took control of the sixth, striking out three in the Mountain Lions’ part of the sixth.
Ryan Kanagy got the Huskies started in their last at bats with a walk. He was replaced by pinch runner Tyler Hunter. Hunter later scored on a wild pitch by reliever Muffie.
But that would be all the Huskies would get on this night as the Mountain Lions took the 9-3 victory.
Mifflin County is back in action Monday against Williamsport.
Altoona 9, MIfflin County 3
MC 000 011 1 – 3 8 2
AL 200 700 0 -9 12 1
WP: Erik Rhodes
LP: Landen Eichhorn
Multiple hits: MIfflin County – Eichhorn 2-for-2, 2runs. Altoona – Matt Moyer 2-for-3, 2 runs, Erik Rhodes 2-for-4 2 RBIs, Connor Blough 2-for-4, run, Michael Riccio 2-for-3, RBI, run.
2B: MIfflin County – None. Altoona – Connor Weyandt,Lucas Muffie.