The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

July 17, 2013

MIKE MASTOVICH| Hot times for two AAABA League teams

JOHNSTOWN — Two AAABA League franchises have heated up as the temperatures soared this month.

The Berkley Hills Renegades beat First Commonwealth 11-1 on Wednesday, the defending champs’ seventh consecutive victory.

Manager Larry McCabe’s team has won 11 of its past 12 games and now has a 22-12 record, good for second place and 31⁄2 games behind league-leading Delweld.

Even after a 7-1 loss to frontrunner Delweld on Wednesday, Laurel Auto Group still had 10 wins in its past 13 games. Manager Mark Thomchick’s squad is 20-13 overall, a significant improvement for a franchise that posted 14 wins in 2012.

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20-something: Four of the six local AAABA League teams have 20-plus victories this season. The balance was a positive development.

Entering Wednesday night’s games, Delweld (24-8), Berkley Hills Renegades (21-12), Martella’s Pharmacy (20-12) and Laurel Auto Group (20-12) had combined for 85 wins.

Delweld and Martella’s Pharmacy (Johnstown Grays) have been at the top of the standings for more than a decade. Last summer, the Berkley Hills Renegades broke through by winning the regular-season and playoff titles.

The depth bodes well for the league. The tough competition should prepare the local teams for the AAABA Tournament.

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Two for five: Martella’s Pharmacy had two pitchers atop the win list entering this week. Both Mike Mulvey and Derek Younker began the week with five wins.

Younker won his sixth game on Monday night against Ophthalmic Associates. Younker and Tim Mulvey combined for a no-hitter in that 11-0 victory according to Martella’s scorebook. Ophthalmic manager Jason Kaminsky said his book had credited his home team with an infield single that was ruled an error in the Martella’s book.

Either way, Younker and Tim Mulvey combined for an impressive outing.

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Power surge: The Renegades smacked three home runs in Wednesday’s mercy-rule win over First Commonwealth at Roxbury Park. John Jones had a grand slam homer, and Rick Jones and Brett Marabito each had solo shots.

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