LEWISTOWN - Spectators at the Mifflin County-Bald Eagle Area baseball game could have watched the first inning, packed up their chairs and gone home for dinner. Because at that point, the game was pretty much decided.
The Huskies and the Eagles each loaded the bases in the first inning with less than two outs. Bald Eagle Area didn't score. But Mifflin County did.
Although the Huskies only plated three runs in the opening frame, they got a serious backing from starting pitcher Evan Pupo's five innings of work in a 3-0 win.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Mifflin County’s Josh Rosefsky connects on a pitch against BEA Wednesday in Lewistown. Rosefsky drove in one of the three Husky runs with a sacrifice fly. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com.
"Things have been kind of going like that for us this year," Mifflin County coach Travis Zook said. "We didn't have a whole bunch of hits there in the first inning but our batters were disciplined at the plate."
After the first inning, the teams combined for three hits the rest of the way as Pupo and BEA pitcher Jon Romine slammed the door.
Pupo went five strong innings, allowing four hits and striking out six. But it was a pair of bases-loaded jams that he worked himself out of that put his stamp on the game. This was Pupo's first appearance since the opener with Huntingdon.
Mifflin County travels to Williamsport today.
"He looked fantastic," Zook said. "We were a little nervous about having him in there for too long but he had great command with a great curve. I was glad to see that for sure."
Pupo got a first-pitch out to open the game and then the wheels looked like they were about to fall off. A walk and back-to-back singles from Logan Reese and Dylan Womer loaded the bases with one down.
The Husky righty got Ryan Dyke to fan on a curve ball before he inducing Gage Gardner into a threat-ending ground out to first baseman Ted Wilson.
Mifflin County also loaded the bases in the first. But unlike the Eagles, the Huskies took advantage.
Lead off hitter Levi North walked to open the frame. A single from Hunter Walker to right-center was followed by a Pupo walk. Tanner Kibe was sat down on strikes for the first out. But a pickoff attempt from Romine went sour and North scampered home.
Wilson then sent a single to right to plate Walker to make it 2-0. The final run of the game crossed when Josh Rosefsky lifted a pitch to right for Pupo to tag and score.
"Their pitcher had some command issues in the first and we hit the ball hard off of him and that set the pace," Zook said.
Mifflin County went down in order in the next three innings. From the first inning on, the Huskies had only one hit and a pair of base runners. It was the curve ball from Romine that had the Huskies off balance the rest of the game.
Romine's ability to get his curve over for a strike had the Husky hitters guessing.
"He came back with that curve there in the third and the fourth inning and we tried to make the adjustment," Zook said. "We set the tempo in the first inning and couldn't keep it up."
Bald Eagle had a little more luck the rest of the way than the Huskies did. The Eagles loaded the bases without getting a hit once more in the fifth. But Pupo stayed calm and got Dyke to look at a called strike three to end the threat.
Heath Hidlay finished off the final two innings for Mifflin County. In each of those two he sat down the side in order.
The Husky defense was a thing of beauty Wednesday. It gave up one error and that was a ball that was driven hard at Isaac Strohecker at third. But for the rest of the day, Strohecker was a machine making plays.
"Defense played spectacular," Zook said. "They had a couple little bloops shots that fell in. Other than that the guys looked fantastic today. Isaac made some great plays and It's really nice to see that."
With the District 6 playoffs creeping around the corner, the Huskies (12-1) head to Class AAAA Williamsport today.
"I like where we stand," Zook said. "But we still have a lot of room for improvement."