Yohn, Raiders come up big in rout over Bucks

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Montgomery’s Chris McClintock is safe as he reaches home before the tag from Bucktail catcher Tanner Riggle during a game at Montgomery on Friday.

MONTGOMERY — Gage Yohn helped Montgomery start turning its season around Wednesday, throwing a 4-hit complete-game and striking out 11 against St. John Neumann.

Friday, Yohn used his bat to help the resurgence continue. So did several others.

And now the defending Mid-Penn champions are looking like title contenders again. Yohn went 3 for 3, reached base four times and scored four runs Friday as Montgomery scored 15 second-inning runs and defeated previously unbeaten Bucktail, 18-3 in three innings.

“We had to get those first couple wins under our belts and now that we do, I feel like we’re going to just keep going upward from there,” Yohn said. “Now that we’re starting to get into the season a little more, we’re all starting to click and get a little more of that family feel and I think we’re just going to keep getting better.”

Yohn is helping spark that charge. The three-year starting shortstop/pitcher has been outstanding in two starts this season, striking out 18. He also is coming alive offensively and delivered his second three-hit performance yesterday.

Yohn ignited a two-run first-inning rally with a one-out single and a stolen base before scoring on Brayden Strouse’s two-out, two-run single. He then hit a two-run single during that 15-run barrage an inning later and scored at least one run in each inning. Yohn also ripped a one-out third-inning single and scored the winning run when Jensen Drick slammed a walk-off single over the left fielder’s head.

“Gage knows the game and he doesn’t get rattled,” Montgomery coach Whitlow Wertz said. “He’s just steady and gets after it. He does what he’s supposed to do. He listens and is a coachable kid.”

Montgomery sent 20 batters to the plate during the second inning as it opened a 17-0 lead against a team that mercy-ruled its first three opponents. The Raiders put their first 11 runners on base and by the time the first out was recorded, it led 13-0 as two runners scored on Hunter Budman’s groundout. Vaughn Ault triggered the rally with a lead-off single and later hit an RBI single that inning while scoring both times.

The Raiders delivered four hits, took advantage of four errors and also drew seven walks. Eithan Marino highlighted the eruption, belting a two-run double and scored twice in the inning as did Strouse, Chris McClintock and Tyler Shadle.

“We wanted to get to it quick and try and finish it as early as we could,” Yohn said. “It was a little bit of both sides. We just kept hitting the ball and we got some hits and they made some errors. It was a little bit of a bad inning for them and a good inning for us.”

“Well tell them to just stay within yourself and listen to what we try to teach you and it’s going to be there,” Wertz said. “All these kids have decent swings. If they barrel up and keep barreling up we’re going to be in every game.”

Bucktail romped to a 3-0 start and showed some firepower, delivering six hits in three at-bats. The Bucks scored three times in the top of the third to keep the game going and Cameron Sockman went 2 for 2 with a two-run single. Logan Long hit an RBI single a batter before Sockman and Bucktail produced four hits that inning before Trevor Miller recorded his fourth strikeout and won his second straight start.

Revealing how strange baseball can be a times, entering the bottom of the third Bucktail and Montgomery both had six hits in a game that featured a 14-run margin. Despite the loss, Bucktail (3-1) still has made big strides and already has eclipsed last year’s win total. It also played yesterday’s game without Gage Sutliff who had nine hits in his first two games.

Montgomery limited the mistakes that plagued it during a 1-3 start and is starting to look like the team that went 15-3 last year and won its first Mid-Penn championship since 2006. Starting 1-3 left Montgomery with more losses than it suffered during last year’s regular season. Maybe, though, that was a blessing in disguise.

“Those losses really lit something for us that made us want to win more,” Yohn said. “That made us drive harder to get the wins.”

Montgomery erased a one-run, fifth-inning deficit in Wednesday’s 4-2 win against Neumann before jumping all over Bucktail. Miller has two wins and Yohn and Strouse are two of the Mid-Penn’s premier pitchers. The Raiders also have several starters back from last year’s team so the 1-3 start was a bit surprising.

But this is a program that has overcome slow starts in that past before achieving great things, including three district championships and a 2012 state final appearance. Marino has four hits in his last two games, Drick has five RBIs and Shadle has reached base in four of his last five at-bats. Montgomery is learning from its mistakes and hoping the growth continues Saturday when it hosts Warrior Run at Bowman Field.

If Montgomery keeps building, today’s game might be the first of multiple appearances at Bowman.

“I think they got complacent and then got too worked up,” Wertz said. “We work, work work and hopefully it will work itself out. I think it will.”

Bucktail 003–3 6 4

Montgomery 2(15)1–18 9 1

John Francis, Paul Risley (2), Logan Long (2) and Tanner Riggle. Trevor Miller and Jensen Drick. W: Miller, (2-1). L: Francis.

Top Bucktail hitters: Devin Serafini 1-1; Long 1-2, RBI; Cameron Sockman 2-2, 2 RBIs. Top Montgomery hitters: Gage Yohn 3-3, 2 RBIs, 4 runs, SB; Eithan Marino 2-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Drick 1-3, 2 RBIs; Brayden Strouse 1-1, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Vaughn Ault 2-2, RBI, 2 runs; Tyler Shadle 3 BBs, 2 runs; Hunter Budman 3 RBIs.

Records: Montgomery (3-3, 3-1 Mid-Penn), Bucktail (3-1, 0-1).