JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – With the top seed already secured in Pool D, Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors might not have brought a must-win approach to Sargent’s Stadium at the Point on Wednesday night.
That didn’t stop the Johnstown franchise from finding the win column again in the 76th AAABA Tournament.
Paul Carpenter sent 11 players to the plate and used a six-run sixth inning to reestablish the lead, then held off Buffalo All In Sports 10-6 in front of 1,503 fans.
Manager Dave Sheriff’s team went 3-0 in Pool D, while Buffalo All In Sports was winless in three contests.
“Coming out 3-0 is big for momentum going into Thursday,” Sheriff said. “It wasn’t our best performance, but our guys are pretty resilient. They play hard from the first inning through nine and get the job done.”
Paul Carpenter will play the North Carolina Disco Turkeys as the single-elimination portion of the tournament begins on Thursday. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
The Disco Turkeys players attended Wednesday’s game and appeared to have a great time while interacting with fans and joining the AAABA ambassadors in dance routines near the third base dugout occupied by PCCA. Sheriff said there also was some good-natured chirping that caught the attention of the Johnstown representative.
“The mindset is to win the game,” said Paul Carpenter third baseman Jace Cappellini, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles on Wednesday. “I think the North Carolina team just has something coming for them.
“We’re hot. We have hot bats. We’re looking good in the field. I think we’re going to come out on top.”
The game closed play in Pool D and actually had no bearing on the upcoming schedule. Paul Carpenter had already clinched the top spot in the pool via its head-to-head win over New Brunswick (2-1) on Monday.
Buffalo entered the game 0-2 and had no chance of moving out of the pool.
“Everybody knew that we were moving on to Thursday, so it was hard to get going,” Sheriff said. “Once again, we left too many guys on base (17). We didn’t get the big hit to open things up. It happens.”
Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors built a 3-0 advantage. Noah Sweeney singled and later scored on Joe Olsavsky’s two-out single in the top of the third.
The Johnstown team added two runs in the fifth after a Buffalo error and two walks.
“We’ve been in this tournament five years in a row,” Sheriff said. “We’re not the most talented this year, but we’re the grittiest – just grind wins out from Day 1.”
All In Sports answered in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Phillips singled and Mike Stellrecht reached on an error. A single by Evan Reimann plated Phillips.
Mitch Floccare followed with a three-run homer to left-center field that gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead.
Right-hander Ethan Boring relieved starter Christian Pfrogner and earned the win. In 42/3 innings, Boring allowed three hits, two runs and struck out three with two walks.
“I knew I had to work a lot of offspeed pitches,” Boring said.
“They’re a good fastball-hitting team. I knew I had to rely on my secondary pitches. Coming in after Frog (Pfrogner), he kept us in it the whole time and really made it easy for me to do my job.”
PCCA picked up six more unearned runs in the sixth.
Cappellini led off with a double, but Buffalo got the next two batters out. Zach Seaman singled, then an error opened the door for a big inning.
Olsavsky doubled in a run and Jayden Taitano singled home another as Paul Carpenter had five hits in the inning.
“It was just contagious. I had a teammate help me out with my swing,” Cappellini said. “He helped me out a lot today and it showed.”
Zach Seaman, Olsavsky, Taitano, and Sweeney each had two hits against Buffalo.
Cappellini credited Taitano with an assist for his four-hit night at the plate.
“He just explained to me what I was doing with my hands and told me to use a different bat,” Cappellini said. “I had a really good round of batting practice and it carried over to the game.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.