Mount Carmel tops Southern Columbia in pitchers' duel

Apr. 24—KULPMONT — Southern Columbia coach Mike Myers half-jokingly called Brecken Reamer "the no-namer" in Wednesday's Heartland Athletic Conference-Division III clash with Mount Carmel ace Drew Yagodzinskie.

After the junior left-hander threw five-plus hitless innings at them, the Red Tornadoes were seriously glad to eke out a 3-2 win at Veterans Memorial Sports Complex for their first season sweep of the Tigers since 2019.

"I tip my cap to them," said Mount Carmel coach Brenton Eades. "The Reamer kid threw fantastic and kept us off balance. I think in the fifth inning he had 40-some pitches; that's unbelievable. We weren't even hitting the ball out of the infield.

"We had just had one good inning where we caught a couple barrels and got lucky a little bit."

Yagodzinskie held up his end, working through some command issues early before retiring nine consecutive batters at one point and 14 of 15 from the second through seventh innings — eight by strikeout.

"That first inning I was like "ehhh," but then third inning rolled around and I was in a nice groove," said the junior righty. "I was moving it really well and I felt pretty good, and I knew my defense had my back."

Mount Carmel (9-2 overall, 6-1 HAC-III) maintained its grip on the division lead, one game ahead of Hughesville (8-2, 5-2) with their second meeting on tap Friday.

Southern Columbia (6-5, 2-5) came in with a three-shutout win streak (Midd-West, St. John Neumann, Loyalsock), and extended that scoreless streak to 22 innings with Reamer's stellar start Wednesday.

"It was nice to see Brecken go out there and go toe-to-toe with Drew since Drew gets a lot of recognition," Myers said. "He's been pitching well like that for us all year. Every time he goes out on the mound, he gives us a chance to win."

The Red Tornadoes managed only a first-inning walk off Reamer (2-2, 2.78 ERA) until Bennett Williams reached on an infield error to open the home sixth. Brody Brinkash sacrificed Williams into scoring position, and leadoff stick Jonny Morgante put runners at the corners with an infield hit.

"You gotta be aggressive up there, especially when they're asking you to hit," said Morgante, a junior shortstop who is second on the team to senior Gavin Lasko with a .375 average. "As long as you move the runner to third, or score him, that's good."

Lukas Carpenter broke the scoreless tie with a liner to right field, and an intentional walk to Lasko filled the bases and ended Reamer's day. Yagodzinskie then fouled off three two-strike pitches to work a run-scoring walk from reliever Guy Longenberger for a 2-0 lead. A balk made it 3-0.

"I had confidence in our team," said Morgante. "I thought we were going to come and hit the ball."

Yagodzinskie (3-1, 3.28) went to the mound for the seventh 11 shy of the 100-pitch limit. He got a comebacker for the first out, but Charles Hopper laced a hit to left field and Hunter Sharrow drew a five-pitch walk to send off Yagodzinskie.

Carpenter was greeted by a check-swing single to left by Ayden Hockenbroch (2-for-3) that loaded the bases. A fielder's choice on a near double-play scored a run, and the Tigers made it 3-2 on a throwing error on a steal of second base. A wild pitch moved the tying run to third before pinch-hitter Jobey Petro sharply grounded a ball to third baseman Brayden Brinkash for the final out.

"They were coming in hot, but we just had to play our game," said Yagodzinskie.

Yagodzinskie knew better than anyone that Southern Columbia missed its chance early in the game. He needed a few innings to dial-in his command and bring his pitches down in the strike zone, and in that time the Tigers had their best swings against him.

Kole Myers shot a first-inning rocket toward the gap in left field; Hopper hit a ball on the button to center to start the second; and Brayden Andrews saw a potential third-inning double tracked down in the left-center gap.

"It was kind of unfortunate, I thought, that we couldn't get a hit early on to get a run," said Myers. "Early on we were being aggressive at the plate, and I think there was a time there — maybe a three-inning stretch — where Drew had eight strikeouts and I thought we were kind of guessing instead of reacting.

"When you have a good pitcher like that, who is struggling to find the zone, you need to take advantage of that."

In the middle innings, Yagodzinskie was virtually untouchable, working a curveball, slider and cut fastball off a four-seamer that reached 87 mph. He fanned three in a row to bridge the third and fourth innings as part of a sequence of eight stirkeouts across 13 batters.

"Once Drew found his rhythm and dialed it in — kind of from the third inning on, maybe if you pushed it to the fourth — once he went fourth through seventh he was spot-on with his pitches. He was accurate, hitting his spots and throwing everything for strikes," said Eades. "Those first couple innings he was trying to find himself, and not that he threw bad but he working deeper counts and they put some better metal on the ball."



Southern Columbia;000;000;2 — 2-4-2

Mount Carmel;000;003;x — 3-2-1

Brecken Reamer, Guy Longenberger (6) and Charles Hopper. Drew Yagodzinskie, Lukas Carpenter (7) and Gavin Lasko.

WP: Yagodzinskie. LP: Reamer. S: Carpenter.

Southern Columbia: Ch. Hopper 1-for-3, run; Hunter Sharrow run; Ayden Hockenbroch 2-for-3; Reamer 1-for-3, RBI.

Mount Carmel: Jonny Morgante 1-for-3, run; Carpenter 1-for-3, RBI; Lasko run; Yagodzinskie RBI; Bennett Williams run.