By Kenny Varner
LEWISTOWN – The rematch!
After topping State College early on in the season, the MIfflin County Huskies baseball team went into Monday’s game looking for the sweep of the rival Little Lions.
This time the Huskies would have the home field advantage, playing at the Confines of the MIfflin County high school.
The game a bad post season vibe to it as the Little Lions muscled out a hard fought 4-2 victory.
“There’s no quit in these guys. They battled to the last pitch,” said MIfflin County coach John McGonigal. “A couple of timely hits there. We had the bases loaded at one point. But we couldn’t come through. It would be a different ball game at that point. We got to regroup and be ready to go. We have a few trips Altoona this week. It would be no better place to get this ball rolling in the other direction.”
Mifflin County went with pitcher Ryan Hine on the mound while State College countered with Jack Messina.
State College broke out early, posting two runs in the first inning.
Starting off the game was leadoff hitter Evan Summerson, who smashed a shot into left for the double.
Teammate Tony Herzing took a Huskies pitch over the fence in center, making it a 2-0 contest.
“Like I said to the boys. This is like a playoff atmosphere. Mifflin County is a tough team, they’re competitive and they play hard,” said State College coach David Williams. “We jumped out on a 2-run home run by Tony which was awesome. I am very happy for him. We made some great plays on defense. Cooper Ryan comes in and throws strikes and overpowers them. To close a game like that is definitely a playoff atmosphere.”
Mifflin County’s Xavier Smith got the Huskies out and running, posting a single to lead things off.
After moving to second on a wild pitch, Smith was stranded as the inning ended.
Mifflin County tried to rally in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Tucker Gill walked.
Smith blasted a screamer into left field.
But Gill was tug out on the relay throw, for the second out.
Smith later scored on a wild pitch, cutting the Little Lion lead to 2-1.
State College tried to make some noise in the fifth.
Sebastian Rhoades reached base on a single back the middle. He was gunned down trying to steal by Ryan Kanagy.
Michael Gaul reached on a Huskies miscue while Jensen Chestnut hustled out an infield hit, putting runners on first and second with one out.
However, Hine settled in and struck out Summerson and forced Herzing to fly out, keeping the game within one run.
Mifflin County tried to get a rally going in its part of the fifth.
With two outs, both Smith and Landen Eichhorn walked, putting a runner scoring position.
Hine followed in their footsteps, loading the bases and almost ending Messina’s afternoon.
Colin McKnight hit a liner that stayed up, to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, State College added two insurance runs on an Austin Harter Sacrifice fly with two runners on.
It took just one swing of the bat for Mifflin County to add a run as Ryan Kanagy smoked a pitch over the fence for the solo shot, cutting it to a 4-2 deficit.
Cooper Ryan came in in relief of Messina and kept the MIfflin County bats at bay.
Xavier Smith led the Huskies with a 2-for-3 effort, with a run scored. He was robbed of a base hit in the seventh.
Before the contest, the Huskies honored the future of the MIfflin County Huskies, the MIfflin County Youth Baseball League and Big Valley Leagues before the first pitch of the contest. Chase Yoder threw out the first pitch.
State College 4, MIfflin County 2
SC 200 002 0 – 4 7 0
MC 001 001 0 – 2 3 2
LP: Ryan Hine
Multiple hitters: State College – None. Mifflin County – Xavier Smith.
HR: State College – Tony Herzing. Mifflin County – Ryan Kanagy.
3B: MIfflin County – Xavier Smith. State College – None.
2B: State College – Evan Summerson. Mifflin County – None.