Laurel Auto Group started Wednesday night with a five-run inning in the top of the first at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
After unbeaten Martella’s Pharmacy responded with a three-run homer by Grant Norris in the bottom of the frame, LAG didn’t relent.
An eight-run second inning by the visitors combined with a strong outing by right-hander Tanner Perrone led Laurel Auto to a 15-5 victory in five innings.
Manager Jim Skiles’ team handed Martella’s Pharmacy its first loss of the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League season.
“Tanner Perrone is a quality pitcher,” Skiles said. “We were counting on him to be able to hold them down. We felt like if we kept hitting like we’ve been hitting, we’d be in the ballgame.
“That’s a quality team obviously. So is Paul Carpenter. Those are the two teams to beat. I’m proud of our guys, the way they hit today and they didn’t stop hitting.”
Laurel Auto is now 4-2 after winning Wednesday’s late game at the Point. Martella’s (5-1) will face Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors in an early meeting of front-runners in Thursday’s late game at Sargent’s Stadium.
Paul Carpenter is 5-0 after defeating O 3-0 in Wednesday’s late game at Roxbury Park.
“They did a nice job. They were patient at the plate and drew walks,” Martella’s Pharmacy manager Kerry Pfeil said of LAG. “They had a couple hit-by-pitches.
“The first two innings, they scored nine runs with two outs,” he added. “That situational hitting comes up big. When 60% of your runs are scored with two outs in a baseball game, you’re probably going to win those games.”
Laurel Auto’s Tyler Suder ripped a two-out, three-run double to left-center field to highlight a five-run first inning. Suder had two hits and five RBIs in the game.
In the bottom of the first, Martella’s Pharmacy cleanup hitter Norris blasted a three-run homer over the screen to make it 5-3.
Laurel Auto answered with Dallas Hite’s leadoff homer to left in the second. That only was the beginning of an inning that included 14 LAG batters with four hits, six walks and a hit batsman.
“The key is when Martella’s answered back, we answered back too,” Skiles said.
Perrone threw three scoreless frames without allowing a Martella’s hit between the second and fourth innings. He struck out two batters and benefited from two double plays.
“I started off pretty rough and faced adversity in the first inning,” Perrone said. “But I found a way to fight back. My defense made great plays behind me and I found a way to put up three zeroes after that inning.
“My offense was great and they really had my back out there,” Perrone added. “They led the way and I just rode with them.”
Laurel Auto’s Ryan Weaver tripled and scored in a two-run third inning to make it 15-3.
Martella’s used back-to-back doubles by Ryne Wallace and Dylan Gearhart (two hits) to score a pair in the bottom of the fifth.
Weaver pitched the final inning and worked out of the jam to preserve the 10-run mercy-rule victory.
“That’s exactly what we needed to do against a team like that with all the confidence in the world,” Skiles said. “They were undefeated and we knew they would come back on us. I was proud of the way the guys handled themselves.”
Pfeil said Martella’s will focus on the next game.
“Absolutely, right back to work,” Pfeil said. “We have a big matchup with PC. They’re a well-respected rival with us. That’s the great thing about baseball. You can come back the next day and play.”