MILLERSTOWN - Zeros must be the only thing East Juniata's baseball team has been dreaming about.
The Tigers have played three games in as many days since falling to Upper Dauphin Monday. Since then, they've scored 30 runs and haven't allowed a single opponent to cross the plate.
Behind lefty hurler Zak Plesce's two-hitter, East Juniata extended its shutout streak Thursday with a six inning, 11-0 win over Tri-Valley League foe Greenwood.
Sentinel photo by LARRY?YOHN
East Juniata’s Kyle Pannebaker, front, moves around Greenwood’s Scott Hostler as Hostler fields a ground ball Thursday in Millerstown. East Juniata won 11-0 in six innings.
James Sands took the loss for Greenwood, firing six innings, striking out nine.
Plesce was the star on the mound, even though the Tigers scored 11 runs and made quick work of the Wildcats. Through his six innings of work, the Tiger allowed a pair of hits and struck out 14 Greenwood hitters.
East Juniata's defense had to make only four put outs against its TVL counterpart.
East Juniata hosts Bible Baptist Monday
Greenwood travels to the PECO tournament Saturday
"Zak had a real good game today," East Juniata coach Tim Brubaker said. "His fastball was pretty good and his curve was breaking nice. His slider was catching the corners and he left a lot of guys watching."
With those three pitchers, Plesce left the Greenwood hitters watching indeed. Six of the lefty's 14 strikeouts came by way of called strike three. Plesce also added a bases-clearing triple in the first to help his cause.
"He had a few days rest so he was strong," Brubaker said. "He started to get a little tired in the sixth but he threw a whale of a good game."
The bats haven't quite been where the Tigers want them to be, but Thursday looked like a step in the right direction.
A five-run first inning gave Plesce the lead for good. Nick Lorenz, who reached base three times, started the inning off with a walk. He was followed by another free pass by Tyler Inch.
That set the stage for East Juniata's No. 3 hitter, Kyle Pannebaker. He sent a laser back up the box that plated one to get the runs started.
Following a walk and a Tiger flyout, Plesce came up and belted a shot to left-center for a triple, driving in three. The final run of the inning came through when Plesce's courtesy runner, Cole Snyder, scored on a passed ball.
"They're still not where they should be," Brubaker said of his team's bats. "This was good for our team, but we still have to get the bat on the ball with a little authority so we can drive it."
Four more runs came across in the fourth. That inning was started by singles from Lorenz, Inch and Pannebaker. Inch's single collected an RBI before Tanner Truitt reached on an error, bringing home another run.
Pannebaker scored on a passed ball and Garrett Kauffman's fielder's choice brought in the ninth run of the game for the Tigers.
East Juniata tacked on two more to enforce the mercy rule in the sixth. A Joe Davis single and an RBI-double from Snyder plated one. Snyder later scored on a passed ball for the final count.
The only real threat to Plesce's fine game was in the first inning and in the last inning. Zach McCoy smashed a one-out double to left in the first, but was stranded at third with no harm done.
In the sixth, fatigue started to show in the lefty. He started the inning with a strikeout, but walked two and hit a batter to load the bases with two outs. Calm, cool and collected, Plesce buckled the final Greenwood hitter for the final out.
"I don't think that's ever happened to me in the years I've been here," Brubaker said of the streak. "It sure does feel good because you know your defense is playing well."
Greenwood falls to 1-8 overall, 0-6 in the Tri-Valley League and will travel to the Perry County Tournament Saturday. After winning three in a row, East Juniata upgrades to 6-4 and gets back to .500 in the TVL. The Tigers host Bible Baptist Monday.