Buffalo's Ken Johnson made a spectaular catch in centerfield

Johnstown wins second game

Double plays help Martinelli keep Buffalo off the bases

By Brian Varmecky

Johnstown 8 - 2 Buffalo Team Logo

    1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Buffalo   0 1 1   0 0 0   0 0 0   2 3 4
Johnstown   1 0 0   0 3 0   4 0 X   8 9 1


Photos from Tuesday night's game will be posted online soon!

Martinelli was strong all night

Johnstown Martella’s Pharmacy improved to 2-0 in the 71st AAABA tournament after an 8-2 victory over Buffalo Royal Printing Tuesday night at Point Stadium. Starter Zach Martinelli allowed only 2 runs through 8 innings, while his offense used a pair of big innings to build a comfortable lead. Buffalo lost the game, but owned the two biggest moments of the night. Dan Dallas hit a towering solo home run over the screen in left field, and centerfielder Ken Johnson laid out to make a brilliant catch in the third inning (pictured above). Buffalo now drops to the losers bracket to play Youngstown, while Johnstown will face Boston at the Point Stadium on Wednesday night.

“He made sure to get ahead of batters and pound the zone, and then he’d throw that slider he had and he got a lot of guys to chase it,” said Dan Dallas of the Buffalo team when asked about what made Martinelli difficult to hit. The Royal Printing team knew that Johnstown had a strong defensive team and that they would need to have a solid offensive night to compete, but Martinelli worked quickly and efficiently to limit the Nickel City team to only 2 hits.  

“As a fielder, that keeps you in the game,” said Johnstown shortstop Jack Shirk of Martinelli’s pitching. “If the pitcher is throwing a lot of balls, you get kind of lackadaisical and back on your heels. When he’s having quick innings and working fast, it just kind of keeps you heads-up and ready-to-go.”

Johnstown Martella's Pharmacy Buffalo's Dan Dallas Dan Dallas congratulated by his teammates
after his solo home run

Buffalo had two memorable plays

The Pharmacists opened the scoring in the first. Dillon Boyer singled to right field with one out and later advanced to second when starter Lucas Schaefer’s pick-off attempt evaded firstbaseman Dan Dallas. Jack Shirk then singled to right with two outs to score Boyer. Johnstown led 1-0 after the first inning.

Buffalo scored an unearned run in the second to tie the game.  Richard Miller led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third after a hit-batsman and a wild pitch.  Kyle Liszewski hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Miller to tie the game.

The third inning belonged to Buffalo. In the top half, Dan Dallas from Canisius High School hammered a solo home run over the Screen Monster in left field.

“I was sitting there waiting for him to make a mistake,” said Dallas. “He missed his location and I capitalized.” The massive home run got a strong reaction from the Johnstown fans. “I’ve never played in front of a crowd like this. It was an awesome experience.” His team fed off the energy from that play and briefly took control of the game. Centerfielder Ken Johnson made a sensational, full-speed diving catch to rob Nate Negri of a hit. The catch (pictured at the top of the article) earned Johnson an ovation from the local fans.

Johnstown's Zach Martinelli Buffalo Royal Painting Buffalo Royal Painting

Johnstown played better defense

While Buffalo had the best defensive play of the night, they also had several of the worst. The Royals committed several uncharacteristic errors, many of which lead to runs for Johnstown.

“In addition to a few physical mistakes, we had a few mental errors,” said Buffalo manager Carnevale. “We threw late to first base twice. We misjudged a pop-fly down the right-field line where my firstbaseman, secondbaseman, and right-fielder all thought the other one was going to catch it. When you make the kind of mistakes that we made tonight, it’s impossible to win against a good team.”

While the Buffalo defense had some struggles, Johnstown’s infielder continued to make a significant positive impact for their team. Johnstown infielders Ian Helsel , Jack Shirk, and Luke Williams completed four double-plays. In the fourth, a double-play negated a lead-off walk. In the sixth, a double-play ended the inning and also erased a walk. In the seventh, Buffalo only trailed 4-2, but were again thwarted by an inning-ending double-play. In the eighth, Johnstown had built a larger lead and maintained it with another inning-ending double play.

“They made every play. They’re a great defensive team,” said Carnevale. “It’s hard to mount rallies or add to your lead when you hit into double plays every inning. It kind of took the edge off of our offensive game.” Johnstown regained the lead in the fifth and never looked back. Helsel was walked with one out, Boyer singled to right field, and Nate Negri was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, Luke Williams hit a sacrifice to left field to score Helsel and tie the game. Shirk then singled to score Boyer, and Negri followed him home on a fielding error.

Johnstown's double plays
kept Buffalo off the base paths
Buffalo made four errors on the night Martella's Pharmacy's Nate Negri

A strong finish to the win

The seventh inning provided the Pharmacists with insurance. Shirk singled to centerfield with one out and then stole second base. An error and walk loaded the bases. Ernesto Rizzitano doubled to right field to score Shirk and Danny Wukich. Helsel followed with a double of his own, scoring Nemo Trexler and Rizzitano.

Trevor Mordar closed the game for the Pharmacists, and was only a dropped third strike away from a three-up/three-down inning. Wednesday night, Johnstown will welcome the first-year Boston franchise to Point Stadium in the lower bracket final.

Johnstown manager Paul Knupp knows that the Boston team is fast and enthusiastic and believes that it will be a thrilling game against them Wednesday night under the lights.

Unofficial Play-by-Play Recap 

1 - Lucas Schaefer; 2 - Jack Trotman; 3 - Daniel Dallas; 4 - Kyle Liszewski; 5 - Richard Miller; 6 - Jason Malkowski; 7 - Michael Gabriele; 8 - Ken Johnson; 9 - Zach Mitchell; DH - Cam Voss

1 - Zach Martinelli; 2 - Danny Wukich; 3 - Luke Williams; 4 - Ian Helsel; 5 - Nate Negri; 6 - Jack Shirk; 7 - Dillon Boyer; 8 - Ernesto Rizzitano; 9 - Nemo Trexler; DH - Nathan Neiderhiser

1st INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
23GabrieleHIT - Single to right field
11VossOUT 1 - Fielder's choice 4-6
41DallasGabriele to 3rd on wild pitch
OUT 2 - Called strike out
21JohnsonOUT 3 - Ground out 6-3
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = No score
1st INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Lucas Schaefer
2HelselOUT 1 - Fly out to right
6BoyerHIT - single to right field
1NegriE1 - Boyer to second on wild pick-off throw
HIT - Infield single
12WilliamsOUT 2 - fly out to left field
9ShirkHIT / 1 RUN - single to right field; Boyer scores; Negri to third
5NeiderhiserSB - Shirk steals second, no throw
OUT 3 - Pop out to catcher
1 R 3 H 1 E 2 LOB = Johnstown leads 1-0
2nd INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
31MillerBase on balls
7MalkowskiHit by pitch
39LiszewskiRunners advance on wild pitch
1 RUN/OUT 1 - Fielder's choice 6-3; Miller scores
27TrotmanOUT 2 - Fielder's choice 4-3; Malkowski to third
12MitchellOUT 3 - Fly out to second base
1 R 0 H 0 E 1 LOB = tied at 1
2nd INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Lucas Schaefer
23WukichBase on balls
4TrexlerOUT 1 - Fly out to centerfield
24RizzitanoOUT 2 - Fly out to centerfield
2HelselE1 - Wukich advances to second on wild pick-off throw
OUT 3 - Line drive to third base
0 R 0 H 1 E 0 LOB = tied at 1
3rd INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
23GabrieleOUT 1 - Pop out to first base
11VossOUT 2 - Ground out 4-3
41DallasHIT / 1-RUN - Solo home run to left field
21JohnsonOUT 3 - Fly out to right field
1 R 1 H 0 E 0 LOB = Buffalo leads 2-1
3rd INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Lucas Schaefer
6BoyerOUT 1 - Ground out 4-3
1NegriOUT 2 - Diving catch in center field (!)
12WilliamsOUT 3 - Swinging strike out
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Buffalo leads 2-1
4th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
31MillerBase on balls
7MalkowskiOUTs 1 & 2 - Double play 6-4-3
39LiszewskiOUT 3 - Ground out 6-3
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Buffalo leads 2-1
4th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Lucas Schaefer
9ShirkHIT - Infield single
5NeiderhiserOUT 1 - Fielder's choice 3-6
23WukichOUT 2 - Called strike out
4TrexlerOUT 3 - Fly out to right field
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Buffalo leads 2-1
5th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
27TrotmanOUT 1 - Ground out 4-3
12MitchellOUT 2 - Ground out 5-3
23GabrieleOUT 3 - Line drive to second base
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Buffalo leads 2-1
5th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Lucas Schaefer
24RizzitanoOUT 1 - Called strike out
2HelselBase on balls
6BoyerHIT - Bloop single to right field
1NegriHit by pitch
12WilliamsOUT 2/1 RUN - sacrifice fly to left field; Helsel scores
9ShirkHIT/2 RUNS/E4 - infield single; Boyer scores; Error allows Negri to score
5NeiderhiserOUT 3 - Ground out to first base
3 R 2 H 1 E 1 LOB = Johnstown leads 4-2
6th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
11VossOUT 1 - Ground out 6-3
41DallasBase on balls
21JohnsonOUTS 2 & 3 - Double play 3-6-3
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Johnstown leads 4-2
6th INNING - Buffalo
PITCHING CHANGE: Cam Voss for Lucas Schaefer
23WukichBase on balls
4TrexlerOUT 1 - Swinging strike out
24RizzitanoOUT 2 - Foul pop up to first base
2HelselBase on balls
6BoyerHit by pitch
1NegriOUT 3 - Swinging strike out
0 R 0 H 0 E 3 LOB = Johnstown leads 4-2
7th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
31MillerHIT - Single to right field
7MalkowskiOUT 1 - Fielder's choice 5-6
PINCH RUNNER: Vincent Chiarenza for Jason Malkowski
39LiszewskiOUTS 2 & 3 - Double play 4-6-3
0 R 1 H 0 E 0 LOB = Johnstown leads 4-2
7th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Cam Voss
12WilliamsOUT 1 - Ground out 5-3
9ShirkHIT - Single to centerfield
5NeiderhiserShirk steals second base
OUT 2 - Fly out to left field
23WukichE6 - Wukich reaches on error; Shirk to third
4TrexlerBase on balls
24RizzitanoHIT/2 RUNS - Double to right field; Shirk scores; Wukich scores
2HelselHIT/2 RUNS - Double to left field; Trexler scores; Rizzitano scores
6BoyerOUT 3 - Swinging strike out
4 R 3 H 1 E 1 LOB = Johnstown leads 8-2
8th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Zach Martinelli
27TrotmanHit by pitch
12MitchellOUT 1 - Swinging strike out
23GabrieleOUTS 2 & 3 - Double play 6-4-3
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Johnstown leads 8-2
8th INNING - Buffalo
Pitcher: Cam Voss
DEFENSIVE SUBSTITUTION: Rick Dieboldt to catch for Jack Trotman
DEFENSIVE SUBSTITUTION: Nolan Hunt to first base for Daniel Dallas
1NegriOUT 1 - Called strike out
12WilliamsOUT 2 - Swinging strike out
9ShirkHit by pitch
5NeiderhiserShirk steals second and third on pass ball
OUT 3 - Swinging strike out
0 R 0 H 0 E 1 LOB = Johnstown leads 8-2
9th INNING - Buffalo
PITCHING CHANGE: Tyler Morder for Zach Martinelli
11VossOUT 1 - Ground out 6-3
24HuntSwinging strike out dropped; Hunt to first base
21JohnsonOUT 2 - Fly out to centerfield
31MillerHIT / OUT 3 - Single to left field; Hunt tagged out at second 7-5-4
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Johnstown wins 8-2

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