Executing the three phases of the game of baseball can usually mean a win, and that was the case for Penns Valley in its game with backyard rival Bellefonte on Monday afternoon.
The Rams were the recipients of solid pitching and timely situational hitting, and although the defense was a little suspect in a couple of cases, the Rams nontheless prevailed 5-1 over the Red Raiders.
The pitching was handled by Rams right-hander Adam DeGarmo, who allowed four hits and one run, striking out seven and walking two.
“He (DeGarmo) did a real nice job,” coach Chuck Romig said. “You don’t know if it was a momentum-changer in the first inning or not, but they got the first two guys on and he came back and settled in without giving up any runs. I think that not only speaks for his confidence, but for the confidence of all the guys on the team.”
Meanwhile, Bellefonte sophomore Dominic Masullo fought off a shaky start to finish strong on the mound. For his five innings of work, Masullo surrendered four runs on four hits, striking out seven while issuing four free passes.
“He kept us right there,” Bellefonte coach Jeremy Rellinger said. “It is certainly a game of three phases. You have to hit, you have to catch it and you have to pitch it. He held up his end of the bargain so as a team maybe we can get all three phases going (Tuesday).”
While the Rams only showed a half-dozen hits, what it came down to was not how many, but when they happened.
“We finally got some opportune hits tonight,” Romig said. “One thing that was really good to see was that we had two, two-out RBI hits tonight. The old saying in baseball is the key to winning games comes down to timely hitting and when we got that first two-out RBI hit, I think I saw some of the tension go away. Today we had some timely hitting and really, this is the only time we had that all season.”
While Romig praised his team’s situational hitting, Rellinger was just as quick to point out that his team didn’t have that. The Raiders had runners on base in six of the seven innings, but cashed in just once.
“We have been getting guys on base pretty consistently, but that simply didn‘t happen much for us today,” Rellinger said. “I guess it was just one of those days so we’ll get right back at it tomorrow and go at it again.”
The teams meet again Tuesday at Bellefonte’s diamond.
“It is just going to test the mental toughness of any player with going back-to-back games against the same team,” Rellinger said. “We just have to go in with a clean slate, prepare to work hard and be prepared to play the best we can.”
Penns Valley scored the only runs it was going to need in the bottom of the first on walks to Taylor Collison and Kevin Butts, followed by a Raider error and an RBI single by DeGarmo, who finished with a pair of hits.
Down 2-0, Bellefonte scored its only run in the second when with one out, Trent Fortney walked, went to second on a passed ball, moved to third when Vance Przybys was safe on a Ram miscue and scored on a wild pitch.
The Rams went up 3-1 in the fourth when Ryan McElwee led off with a single and scored on an RBI single by Collison.
Penns Valley scored its final runs in the fifth when Butts walked, DeGarmo and Cam Tobias both reached on Red Raider errors before David Fox had an RBI single to left.
As for playing back-to-back games against the same team, Romig said, “it should be another good game. I don’t know if we ever played the same team back-to-back. For me it is kind of like going back to college. Our pitchers know their hitters and they know us as well. I am looking forward to it.”