The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

May 7, 2014

Bishop McCort, Johnstown split twin bill

JOHNSTOWN — Normally, a Game 2 victory in Wednesday’s doubleheader would have been the most memorable part of Greater Johnstown coach Kerry Pfeil’s evening at Point Stadium.

The Trojans did their part, rallying from a 4-0 first-inning deficit to top Bishop McCort 7-6 and avenge a 9-1 loss from earlier in the day.

There was just no competing with the memory created between the two games as Larry Pfeil, father of Kerry Pfeil and Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil, tossed out a ceremonial first pitch with members of the family on the turf at Point Stadium.

“It’s one of the coolest baseball moments of my life,” Kerry Pfeil said. “My dad and my brother, as well as my mother and sisters, have been the biggest influences of my life. To share that moment with my brother, my dad and my nephew, Mason. I’m never going to forget it.” 

It wasn’t much different for Chris Pfeil.

“It’s probably one of those moments that I’ll never forget,” Chris Pfeil said. “I don’t think my brother or I will ever forget it. He’s the reason why we’re both here. He’s the reason why we’ve been able to have some success in coaching ... He’s touched a lot of lives. Hopefully one day, we mean as much to our players that some of the players we coached feel about him.” 

When baseball took over for Game 2 of the doubleheader, which also acted as Bishop McCort’s senior night and a joint effort between the two schools as Strike Out Cancer Night, it appeared the Crimson Crushers picked up right where they left off in Game 1.

Unfortunately, for Greater Johnstown, its penchant for making errors carried over into the early stages as well.

Ethan Neiderhiser’s inside-the-park home run during the first pushed Bishop McCort ahead 3-0. A double from Nick Gjurich plated Jeremy Adams to make it 4-0.

The Trojans battled back in the second. Rashad Jordan-Maines’ single and an error at shortstop allowed Isiah Keller to score. Nate Litvin came home as Neiderhiser uncorked a wild pitch with Ryley Vogel at the plate. A bunt from Vogel a pitch later scored Jordan-Maines to cut Bishop McCort’s lead to 4-3.

Neiderhiser’s sac fly to right in the bottom of the inning brought in Nemo Trexler to increase the Crimson Crushers’ lead to 5-3.

A first-and-third steal in the third, pulled off by LesPaul Buchko and Grant Noon was responsible for the Trojans gaining another run off Neiderhiser.

The Trojans’ fifth was when they were able to tip the scales on Bishop McCort, tallying three runs while Trexler relieved Neiderhiser and experienced control problems, hitting three batters and walking another in a third of an inning.

Another first-and-third play gave Greater Johnstown a 6-5 lead before Trexler issued a bases-loaded walk to Nate Litvin.

“That’s really the team aspect that we’ve been pushing for with these kids,” Kerry Pfeil said. “It’s been successful thus far.” 

Bishop McCort plated its final run in the sixth as Neiderhiser reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error at first.

A diving stop by Connor Kobal at second on Jeremy Adams’ grounder up the middle retired the side, keeping the hosts at bay while stranding Alex Sobecky at third.

“He made a play,” Chris Pfeil said. “He had multiple opportunities during the game. He finally made one, it came at a crucial time and we weren’t able to get the job done.” 

Jeremy Updyke, who coaxed the inning-ending grounder out of Adams in the sixth, earned the save when Trexler flew out to Jordan-Maines in right.

It was the first win for the Trojans over their in-city rival since April 12, 2009, when Greater Johnstown won 8-4. 

In Game 1, the Crimson Crushers capitalized on nine Greater Johnstown errors and built a 9-0 lead in the top of the third thanks to back-to-back outbursts in the second and third innings.

Adams' run-scoring single opened the scoring in the second as it chased in Neiderhiser, who worked a walk out of Noon to open the frame.

An error at third allowed Alex Sobecky to trot in with the Crimson Crushers' second run. Adams scored on Cameron Rock's one-out single while Gjurich came across as the fourth run, crossing the plate before Rock was caught in an inning-ending rundown.

A one-out walk drawn by Brad Coleman opened Bishop McCort's third-inning rally.

After Neiderhiser was plunked by Noon, a passed ball allowed both runners to advance a base before Coleman scored as Sobecky reached on an error.

Neiderhiser scored on a wild pitch before Adams plated Sobecky with a single.

Rock singled in Adams while Gjurich scored on a misplay in left, pushing the Bishop McCort lead to 9-0.

Greater Johnstown replied with its only run in the bottom half of the third when LesPaul Buchko singled in Connor Kobal.

Sobecky, Adams and Rock each had two hits for Bishop McCort while Vardian fanned seven over six innings on the mound.

Noon, who logged a 132-pitch complete game for Greater Johnstown, struck out three.

“Any time you make two errors against the caliber of team as Bishop McCort, you’re going to pay the price,” Kerry Pfeil said. “When you make nine errors, the result that any team in the state is going to have is a loss.” 

 

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