ALTOONA - If there was any lingering effect from his taking Mount Union's only loss of the season his last time out, Brock Goodling sure didn't show it.
The Trojans sophomore not only threw a no-hitter against North Star Thursday, but also connected for a two-run home run in the second inning of Mount Union's 9-0 victory in a PIAA Class AA quarterfinal at Altoona's Veterans' Field.
"This is better than my perfect game because this means so much more," Goodling said. "It means more to me. It means more to the seniors."
Sentinel photos by BUFFIE BOYER
Mount Union pitcher Brock Goodling, 18, is swarmed by his teammates after hitting a home run in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinal game against North Star in Altoona Thursday. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com
Goodling seemingly overwhelmed the Cougars' lineup at times, tossing fastball after fastball right past the bats of the team wearing green. The Trojan 10th grader ended the day with eight strikeouts while allowing just a single North Star base runner to get as far as third base.
"Great effort," Trojans coach Nick Imperioli said. "It just goes to show you that you can do it more ways than one. The fastball was the thing, so we just went with it. He looked really fast to me today."
He was also aided on a couple of occasions by his shortstop and fellow Brock - Imperioli. In the top of the fourth, Alijah Detrilla sent a quick bouncer toward the hole on the left side to the cheers of the Cougar faithful who were sure it was a base hit. But Imperioli stabbed it and fired a perfect strike to first base to record the out and preserve the no-no.
"I've got to thank Brock Imperioli," Goodling said. "He saved my game today. That was extravagant. I'm just speechless."
Goodling was masterful on the bump for the Trojans, but it was overshadowed in the early part of the game by the somewhat surprising deluge of offense by Mount Union in the first two innings of the game.
After the Cougars had recorded the first two outs of the frame, the Trojans showed they were just getting started. Goodling's first hit of the day also plated the first run for Mount Union, scoring Chuck Beaston - who had reached on an error - from third base on a single to left field.
Then the wheels began to come off for the District 5 champion.
Sean Dixon crossed on a wild pitch and then, following a walk to Brock Imperioli, Ryan McClain reached on a booted grounder at shortstop, scoring Goodling to make it 3-0.
But the Trojans weren't done making the Cougars pay.
Garett Grainey and Elliot Clemens delivered back-to-back run-scoring singles to give Mount Union a 5-0 bulge before North Star knew what had hit it.
"The five runs made a big difference," Imperioli said. "It makes it easier on the pitcher. It allows him to throw a lot of strikes. (Goodling) threw a lot of strikes. If you can get out to a big lead right away in the state playoffs - every game in the state playoffs is a little bit nervous and on edge. Five runs in the first were big."
The second inning was more of the same from the blue and gold as three more runs came across. Cole Walters was hit by a pitch before giving way to Dylan Knable - inserted as a courtesy runner for the Mount Union catcher. Then Dixon blasted a ball off the wall in center field, plating Knable. That set the table for Goodling, who launched one over the left field wall to put the Trojans up 8-0.
"Finally the offense came through," Goodling said. "It was nice."
Mount Union's final run came in the fifth when Grainey collected the second of his RBI singles on the day, scoring Imperioli to set the final.
But perhaps the biggest compliment to how well Mount Union played comes from the coach himself.
"We played well today all around - can't complain about anything," Imperioli said. "But I'll find something though."