JOHNSTOWN – Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors counted on the Wright stuff on Tuesday night at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Wright stifled Altoona Cumming Motors through 7 2/3 innings. Paul Carpenter’s bats did plenty of damage to support him in an 11-1 victory shortened to eight innings by the mercy rule.
A crowd of 2,300 fans watched as the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League champions opened the 76th AAABA Tournament with a 2-0 record in Pool D.
“He threw well. The only reason we took him out was he was at the 105 (pitch) mark and it was their fourth time through the lineup,” Paul Carpenter manager Dave Sheriff said. “He throws that two-seam fastball that just runs in on everybody, and he has a slider that goes the opposite way on them. It keeps them off-balance.”
Paul Carpenter will face Buffalo All In Sports (0-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Point.
Altoona Cumming Motors (1-1) will play New Brunswick (1-1) at noon at Mount Aloysius College in another Pool D game.
“I think with that win we should be out of pool play. We’d like to get out of pool play clean,” Sheriff said. “We have to keep that momentum going. Thursday night the tournament starts over.”
The St. Vincent College product Wright didn’t allow a hit through four innings, while facing only two batters over the minimum.
“I felt like I had really good fastball command early on,” Wright said. “I was able to utilize my two-seam fastball. Me and Jayden (Taitano), my catcher, are on the same page. Having a good relationship helps out more than anything.”
Altoona’s Drew Weglarz broke up Wright’s no-no with a one-out single to left in the fifth, and Colton Burd had a two-out infield single in the sixth.
“Phenomenal,” Altoona manager Chris Sanders said of Wright. “He was keeping the ball down, mixing his speeds well.
“I don’t know if it was playing at this stadium for the first time, but the kids were telling me it was hard to pick up the ball. But hats off to their pitcher. He threw a phenomenal game.”
Wright had a one-two-three seventh and retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth.
But Klotz roped a triple to deep right field, bringing manager Sheriff to the mound.
“I felt really good. I wanted to keep going,” Wright said. “I told Dave (Sheriff) to sit down when he was coming out to get me.
“I felt good, but I understand I might need to come back later in the week for another game.”
Wright pitched 72/3 innings, without allowing an earned run as Altoona’s lone tally came after a dropped third strike with two outs. He struck out seven, walked one and hit two batters. The righty allowed three hits.
“I was definitely feeding off the crowd,” Wright said. “It was really nice to see pretty much a packed house again.”
Paul Carpenter built a 3-0 first-inning advantage after singles by Billy Perroz and Joe Olsavsky, a walk to Brandon Lane, Austin Homer’s groundout and a bases-loaded walk.
Then, PCCA turned to the long ball to pad the margin.
Jayden Taitano hit a solo homer over the brick wall in center field in the fifth, and Lane smashed a towering two-run home run over the screen in left field to make it 6-0 in the seventh.
“I was just waiting for a good pitch like always,” Lane said. “It put us up 6-0. That’s what we wanted.”
Olsavsky stroked a two-run single up the middle in the bottom of the eighth. Three hit batsmen and a fielder’s choice put the 10-run rule into effect.
“I’m excited for us. We’re all amped up. Energy is going,” Lane said. “It’s a great atmosphere, awesome to play in front of.”
Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat.
Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.