AMSTERDAM — Johnstown starting pitcher Antonio DeMarco got a little help in the first inning from his teammates, and then a tough seventh inning by the Amsterdam defense allowed him to put away a one-hit, 6-0 Foothills Council baseball shutout win Wednesday night at Shuttleworth Park.
DeMarco struck out seven, walked two and gave up one solid base hit to Brodie McNeil in the third inning.
The Johnstown starter was elated, helping deliver a win after his squad suffered a heart-breaking 7-4 loss to Amsterdam in eight innings two days ago.
“Especially with how the game ended Monday, I really wanted the ball not thinking I could, but knowing I could shut these guys out,” DeMarco said. “So I really wanted the ball.”
DeMarco took the mound with a two-run lead, courtesy of a two-run home run by his clean-up hitter Carter Cheney.
“I’m pretty sure I had two strikes on me so I was just protecting the plate,” Cheney said. “He threw it up and I just took a normal swing at it. I don’t even know how to be honest with you.”
A portion of the high left-field fence at Shuttleworth Park leans back from the edge of the park, and then the left-centerfield portion height drops down — right where Cheney drove the ball.
“I felt like it was a hard-hit ball, and I just ran around second,” Cheney said. “I didn’t know if it was out or not until the umpire [gave the home run signal].”
Beginning in the bottom of the opening inning, the Johnstown battery of DeMarco and Cheney went to work.
“I was looking for some good offspeed, some outside pitches, some corners,” Cheney said about his pitch signals and set up for DeMarco. “He really delivered it.”
DeMarco knew he had his entire arsenal available Wednesday.
“I got in the bullpen, and everything felt pretty good,” Demarco said. “I told coach, ‘We’re going to mix it all in today, especially with our top four or five guys. They can really swing it, so we’re just trying to keep him off balance and everything felt good.’”
Amsterdam’s lineup delivered at the plate, just without success.
“We hit a lot of balls hard, just nothing fell, nothing found a hole,” Amsterdam coach Robby Hisert said. “Manny [Santos] hit three balls on his own hard, [Patrick] Vidulich stroked one and went right into the glove and Jude [Flint] had another one. If those balls fall, it’s a 2-2 game a long time ago, but unfortunately, they didn’t.”
Meanwhile, Johnstown coach John Jennings implored his squad to put up more runs, uncomfortable with the early 2-0 lead.
“The other day when we played these guys, we left a ton of guys on,” Jennings said. “That was our practice yesterday, situational hitting with two strikes and two outs. I got on them, got on them hard going into the seventh, and once we pushed four [runs] across, that’s all we needed.”
P.J. Yetto led off with a single, moved over on Rizzo’s sacrifice fly to right, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a throwing error from short on Danny Brown’s grounder. DeMarco reached safely when his fly ball to left was mishandled. Brown scored on a passed ball and two walks later, Zach Tallon hit an RBI single and Peyton Bramer scored Cheney with his fielder’s choice to second.
“The last inning. there were some mistakes, passed balls and things like that where they were able to kind of tack on a few more,” Hisert said. “A 2-0 game in the first few innings, nothing to panic about and we didn’t. The game just kind of played out the way it did.”
Johnstown 200 000 4 — 6 9 0
Amsterdam 000 000 0 — 0 1 3