A year ago, Delweld left-hander Joel Martin finished his high school career with the District 6 champion Marion Center Stingers, then made an immediate impact in the AAABA League.

The Cleveland Indians draft pick might be even better this season.

Martin is building on a resume that includes the local AAABA League’s Bill Jenkins Award as the top rookie pitcher last summer.

In Tuesday’s season opener, Martin tossed a one-hitter in a 5-0, rain-shortened victory over Cernic’s.

“He throws hard,” Delweld manager Chris DelSignore said after Martin limited Cernic’s to a bunt single in the fifth inning.

The Indians selected Martin in the 30th round (904th overall) in last June’s draft. He opted to remain an amateur and spent the summer with Delweld.

During the offseason, Martin was been tutored by former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Rick Roberts, a Forest Hills graduate.

Like Martin, Roberts is a left-hander. Roberts was the league’s top rookie pitcher in 1996 and swept the pitching honors by taking the Pete Vuckovich Award in the same year.

“Joel’s been working with Rick Roberts in the offseason, and now he has a cutter,” DelSignore said. “He’s been breaking some bats. Anytime you get a lefty throwing as hard as he does, it’s not something that guys see every day.

“Those guys are few and far between. That’s probably one of the reasons he was drafted. I think once he starts learning how to pitch, with the natural ability he has, he will be pretty effective.”

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The AAABA Tournament and area sports in general lost a friend and supporter when Tom Hoover of Seward died on Monday at age 59 after a long illness.

Hoover was a member of the Johnstown Umpires Association for three decades and worked many tournament games, including 15 AAABA Tournament championship games.

“Tom was a great guy and a good teacher,” said umpire Ray Asfar. “I learned a lot from him.

“Tom was a really wonderful person who never had a bad word to say about anybody. When I first started, my first AAABA game, they asked him, ‘Do you mind having Ray (in the crew)?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t mind.’ ”

Hoover also was a respected PIAA official for 31 years, working multiple sports. Hoover was a long-time basketball coach and football public address announcer in the United School District, as well as a former general manager of the Seward VFW AAABA League franchise and legion baseball team.

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The Johnstown Grays executed a rare triple play in a season-opening 2-1 loss to Principle Development at Roxbury on Tuesday.

“There were guys on first and second, and then there was a line drive back to Ben Watkins, who then threw to first base,” Grays manager Chris Pfeil said. “The throw to second finished the triple play. Both runners had gone on the play.”

Right-handed pitcher Watkins snared a low liner by Brock Stevens and instinctively threw to first baseman J.T. Baker, who stepped on the bag to retire Jeff Vincent. Baker threw to shortstop Matt Petrowsky, who touched second base to retire Dante Plassio with the third out.

“That was the first triple play in Grays history,” said Pfeil, who has been the team’s manager since its inaugural season in 1999. “I can’t remember seeing one in the league.”

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