MILESBURG - If Williamsport's meeting with Bald Eagle Area on Wednesday afternoon was to serve as a warm-up for the Backyard Brawl this weekend at Bowman Field, consider the Millionaires ready to go.
The Millionaires scored early and often and rolled over the Eagles, 11-1, in six innings, ending a five-game losing streak.
"This is one of the games where we might have had double-digit hits (10) and we had no errors," said Williamsport head coach David Cipriani. "We just finally got all of our pitching back. We had a couple of kids who had pneumonia and this is as healthy as we have been for quite a while. We played all phases of the game well today."
Cipriani used his top three pitchers, giving each of them some time to keep sharp.
Sadiq Burkholder started and allowed a harmless single in the third inning. The lefty struck out five and walked one in his three innings. Completing the trio of pitchers was sophomore Gabe Rader. His only mistake was hanging a pitch at the eyes of Logan Reese for a solo home run in the sixth inning.
"We went junior (Burkholder), senior (Hostrander) and sophomore (Rader)," said Cipriani. "With the sickness we have battled through, we have been throwing anybody we could. Today those three looked pretty good."
Although he had an idea of what the Millionaires (8-5) had as far as pitchers, they were even better than BEA head coach Jim Gardner had first thought.
"Last year we went down there and saw the same thing," said Gardner. "They did the same thing to us while getting a tune-up for their Backyard Brawl. They threw their top three pitchers at us and they were darn good last year and I thought they surely can't be that good this year, but I believe they were.
"Burkholder threw at us last year as their third pitcher and I knew he was tough and I heard their coach say it was the best he has thrown all year. When they brought the second kid (Hostrander) in I thought, hey, we might have a chance and he might have been the hardest throwing pitcher we saw all year. I think we might have been able to hit the last kid (Rader) a little bit, but we just ran out of time."
Showing no apparent effects of recently battling pneumonia, Hostrander led the Millionaires on offense and on the mound.
"Sometimes when you face injuries or sickness you tend to focus a little more because you feel you have to if you are going to perform well," said Gardner. "He (Hostrander) was right on his game today with all of his pitches. With as hard as he throws and the command he has, he is really a tough pitcher."
Hostrander went 4 for 4 with three singles, a home run, a run scored and three RBIs. He pitched two innings, struck out three and didn't allow a baserunner.
Williamsport 113 015 - 11 10 0
BEA 000 001 - 1 2 3
Sadig Burkholder, Ryan Hostrander (4), Gabe Rader (6) and Joey Cassidy. Jon Romine, Jeff Koleno (6) and Bryan Greene. ? Hostrander. LP - Romine.
Top Williamsport hitters: Burkholder 2B, Hostrander HR, Owen Lukens HR. Top BEA hitter: Logan Reese HR.