The Bald Eagle Area lineup started to heat up late.
The Eagles put together a four-hit fifth inning and followed that with three more hits in the sixth as they pulled away from Penns Valley for a 9-3 win Tuesday.
BEA scored a combined five runs in those two innings to put the finishing touches on a season-opening victory. But the Eagles also benefited from Rams’ miscues — Penns Valley finished with eight errors — throughout the game. Bald Eagle Area (1-0) scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning, kickstarted by a pair of Rams’ errors, and Penns Valley made at least one error in each of the first six innings.
After the game, Penns Valley coach Jon Bowersox said the agenda for his team’s next practice is already set.
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The Rams (0-2) will be fielding ground balls for two hours.
“You give a team eight extra at bats,” Bowersox said, “you deserve to lose.”
Bald Eagle Area finished with 10 hits, paced by two-hit days by Ryan Guenot, Noah Chambers and Hunter Eminhizer.
Eagles pitcher Brandon Barnyak threw four scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. Guenot started on the mound and allowed three runs on four hits in three innings.
Bald Eagle Area missed opportunties to break the game open early, leaving runners on third base in the second, third and fourth innings.
BEA coach Jim Gardner said his team was out in front of Penns Valley pitchers Andrew Tobias and Chase Collison after seeing good fastballs in scrimmages against Central Mountain and Mifflin County.
“We had to get a little bit better discipline, sit back a little bit, and I think the second time through the lineup, we started to time it up a little better and make some things happen,” Gardner said.
Penns Valley’s defense helped.
With the score tied 3-3, Barnyak and Guenot each reached base on errors to start the fourth inning.
Chambers drew a one-out walk to load the bases, and Andy Swabick worked a walk to score the go-ahead run.
The Penns Valley infield made all eight errors. Bowersox attributed the miscues to a lack of concentration on ground balls.
“They’re taking it for granted, they’re not charging it, they’re sitting back on it,” Bowersox said. “They need to be more aggressive.”
The Rams could not overcome the poor defensive performance.
In the fifth, two errors led to BEA’s fifth run. Trey Butterworth then beat out an infield single to drive in a run, and Chambers and Swabick followed with back-to-back singles to push the Eagles ahead 7-3.
Guenot drilled a two-run double in the sixth inning to push his team ahead by six runs.
Meanwhile, Barnyak shut down the Rams. He allowed just one hit and one walk in the final four innings.
“Right away, (Barnyak) has made big improvements over last year with his consistency in being around the plate,” Gardner said, “so we’re real pleased with his development.”
The Eagles provided plenty of run support as Penns Valley struggled in the field.
“We really wanted to put continuous pressure on ‘em,” Gardner said, “and that seemed to really work for us today.”