Altoona Cumming Motors vs. Buffalo – Aug. 2, 2021
Altoona Cumming Motors' catcher Hunter Klotz (right) puts the tag on Buffalo All In Sports' Evan Reiman during the eighth inning of their Pool D game of the 76th AAABA Tournament at Mount Aloysius College on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. 

CRESSON – If Altoona Cumming Motors center fielder Drew Weglarz thought he really went around on that eighth-inning check swing that was called a ball, he wasn’t letting on.

Well, not much, anyway. He flashed a pretty big grin when asked about it.

“Hey, you know what? That’s the eyes of the umpire. I’m not going to argue that call, that’s for sure,” Weglarz said.

There was no arguing that Weglarz made the most of his new life, too. Weglarz grounded the very next pitch into left field to drive in Corey Chamberlain from third with the go-ahead run and start a three-run rally that lifted Cumming Motors over Buffalo All In Sports, 6-3, at Mount Aloysius College on the first day of AAABA Pool D action Monday.

“You’ve got to put it in play somewhere and do a job, especially in that situation,” said Weglarz, a three-year AAABA tourney veteran who went 2-for-3. “Whether it’s a hit or not doesn’t matter, but you’ve got to put it in play.”

Had home plate ump Ron Hudson rung Weglarz up on the 0-2 pitch or base umpire Ted Oppegard said he swung on the appeal, there would have been two outs in a 3-all game with Buffalo having scored in successive innings. Instead, Mike Turiano and Jake Hillard came up with back-to-back doubles for the Altoona AAABA League champions to send them to a hard-fought victory after they’d led by two runs most of the way.

“It’s extremely big (to win the first game),” Hillard said after going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles from the leadoff spot.

“I think it’s important for us so we have that momentum moving on in the week but I think it’s also big that we got this win so we show the other teams that we’re serious about this tournament.”

Seth Smith – who pitches for Mount Aloysius during the college season – came on to relieve Altoona starter Dylan Gearhart with one out in the top of the eighth and promptly allowed two of the runners he inherited to cross the plate and tie the game.

He found his command in the ninth, though, retiring Buffalo in order to polish off the win.

“We’ve been like that all year. We don’t get down. We’re a very, very close unit. That’s tight. They won’t let another player get down,” Altoona manager Chris Sanders said. “I knew (Smith) would rise to the occasion.”

Oppegard admonished the Buffalo dugout for questioning the no-swing call on Weglarz, but All In Sports manager Tony Ballistrea wasn’t using that as an excuse. He recognized his team’s 11 stranded base runners, two errors on one play in the first inning that paved the way for two Altoona runs and a runner picked off first base as weighing in every bit as heavily.

“The biggest thing is controlling what we can control. I told the boys that,” Ballistrea said. “We have to overcome adversity. We have to come back (on Tuesday) and play better. We had 10 hits, three runs.”

Ty Phillips went 3-for-4 for Buffalo, while Mitch Floccare and Tyler Kerl had two hits apiece. All In Sports starter Tanner Gillis settled down after a rocky first to hold Altoona to one earned run on six hits with eight strikeouts over six innings.

Gearhart fanned nine in his no-decision. Hunter Klotz and Matt Park joined Hillard and Weglarz with two hits each to lead Cumming Motors’ 11-hit attack.

“Winning the first game’s big,” Sanders said. “It puts us in a good situation.”

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