Boston celebrates a run

Boston remains undefeated

Astros play game in honor of fallen teammate

By Brian Varmecky

 Team Logo Boston 3 - 1 Johnstown

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


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

Tragic loss of teammate

After losing a former player to a shooting in Boston on Wednesday night, the Boston BASE Astros played an emotional game against host Johnstown on Thursday at Point Stadium and came away with a 3-1 victory. They will next face fellow undefeated Altoona in the winners bracket final, while Johnstown will face Philadelphia in an elimination game.

The Johnstown / Boston game had been scheduled for Wednesday night but was postponed due to an electrical outage at the Point Stadium. There was a bigger crowd on attendance Thursday night, but Astros starter Sam Steeves limited Johnstown's offense and kept the crowd mostly silent until a brief rally in the eighth. Even then, the Boston team remained focused on the game and the tribute they intended it to be.

"The crowd was into it for their hometown team, but I don't care how loud this crowd was, there was no roar bigger than inside our hearts," said Boston manager Steph Lewis. Every member of the Boston side branded their hats in memory of BASE Astros alumni Angel Oller. The team joined together in prayer before and after the game and dedicated the win in Angel's memory.

"This was 100% for him," said a teary Lewis. "This game right here was pure, raw emotion. There was no way we were gonna walk away without this win."

Johnstown Martella's Pharmacy
Ernesto Rizzitano
Johnstown Martella's Pharmacy
Ian Helsel
Johnstown Martella's Pharmacy
Brad Coleman

With offensives strugglings, team must manufacture runs

Johnstown opened the game with a single from Ian Helsel into shallow right field. With two outs, Luke Williams was walked. Jack Shirk then hit a single, also to shallow right field, which would have loaded the bases, except that Helsel was picked off at third base on the play, ending the inning.

Boston started the scoring in the third inning. Astros pitcher Sam Steeves was hit with a pitch by Martella's pitcher Nathan Bearer to lead off the inning. Steeves advanced to second on a fielder's choice, and reached third on a wild pitch. That let Frankely Gonzalez's sacrifice fly to centerfield score him from third.

The Astros added another in the fourth inning. With one out, Lionel Danielson doubled off the left-field scoreboard. He then stole third base without a throw, and finally stole home with Ervin Kantardzic at bat. The Johnstown coaches believe that not only was he tagged out, but that he missed home plate. Boston staff believe that there was no tag because the catcher reacted to the play too late. In the end, however, the umpire ruled that Danielson was safe at home for Boston's second run of the game.

In the fifth, Boston scored their final run. Sean Webster walked with one out and then stole second base. Miguel Lorenzo's single to left field scored Webster for the 3-0 Boston lead.

Johnstown scattered 7 hits through-out the game, but could not sustain a rally and were often dismissed after only 3 or 4 batters. Their only run came in the eighth inning. Ian Helsel hooked a one-out single just inside the first base line. With two outs, Nate Negri came to bat. He had committed the game's only error the previous half-inning, but made up for it with a run-scoing triple off the brick wall in centerfield.

"We bailed their pitcher out with first pitch swing, second pitch swings, and not getting him deep in the count," said Johnstown manager Paul Knupp.

Boston's Sean Webster scoring in the fifth Johnstown manager Paul Knupp arguing
the safe call when Danielson stole home
Johnstown fielding against Boston

Even with win, Boston is looking to improve

Boston showed great speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. Steeves attempted to steal third base in the 3rd inning and reach safely when the pitch home was wild. Jamel Vilmont stole both second and third base in the third inning. Danielson stole both third and home in the fourth. Webster stole second in the fifth.

Boston starter Sam Steeves struck out a total of 5 including the whole side in the 7th inning. Closer Nick Powers struck out 2 in the ninth to preserve the win.

"Yesterday when we got here, we were definitely a little flustered," confessed Steeves. "But after the power delay, we had a little fun and got used to the crowd." He said that his fastball was his best pitch for him this game, and that his change-up and curve ball came around, as well, in the later innings. He allowed only 7 hits and 1 walk in 8 innings.

"We know Sam's a gamer and going into this game, we knew we were gonna go with Sam," said Boston manager Steph Lewis.

The new Boston franchise is having a wonderful tournament so far and has recorded wins over Chicago-South Shore, Livonia, and now Johnstown. Excluding the inaugural tournament, there have been only 5 franchises to win 3 games in their first tournament: 1947 Pittsfield, 1955 Milford, 1979 Lansing, 2009 Toledo, and the 1947 Concord American Legion which won 4 games. Only Gardella's Pharmacy representing Milford in 1955 began their first tournament with 3 consecutive wins. Eighteen franchises have left Johnstown winless in their first tournament, including Altoona (1952), Chicago-Metropolitan (1988), New Brunswick (1960), and most-recently Elk County (1997).

While their 3-0 start puts Boston in limited company, manager Steph Lewis believes that his team still has more potential.

"We have much more room for improvement. We're not satisfied with where we are at," said Boston's Lewis. "I truly believe that we haven't played our best game yet."

Boston starter
Sam Steeves
The Boston BASE Astros dedicated the game
to the memoriy of Angel Oller
Boston BASE Astros are now 3-0

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 - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
2HelselHIT - single to right
6BoyerHelsel steals second
OUT 1 - Fly out to left
1NegriOUT 2 - Fly ouy to center
12WilliamsBase on balls
9ShirkHIT/OUT 3 - Single to right; Helsel out at third 1-5
0 R 2 H 0 E 2 LOB = no score
1st INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Nathan Bearer
2WebsterOUT 1 - Ground out to first
3GonzalezOUT 2 - Ground out 4-3
4LorenzoHIT - single to left
18PowersOUT 3 - Ground out 4-3
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = no score
2nd INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
5NeiderhiserOUT 1 - Ground out 4-3
18BuziOUT 2 - Pop out to second base
4TrexlerOUT 3 - Line out to short stop
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = no score
2nd INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Nathan Bearer
16WoodheadOUT 1 - Fly out to center
15DanielsonOUT 2 - Line out to left
12KantardzicHIT - infield single
1SantanaOUT 3 - Ground out 1-3
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = no score
3rd INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
24RizzitanoOUT 1 - Fly out to first base
2HelselHIT - Double to left
6BoyerOUT 2 - Fly out to center
1NegriOUT 3 - Ground out 6-3
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = no score
3rd INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Nathan Bearer
9SteevesHit by pitch
2WebsterOUT 1 - Fielder's choice 6-3; Steeves to second
3GonzalezSteeves to third on wild pitch
OUT 2/1-RUN - Sacrifice fly to centerfield
4LorenzoHIT - Single to centerfield
18PowersLorenzo steals second
Lorenzo steals third
OUT 3 - Swinging strike out
1 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 1-0
4th INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
12WilliamsOUT 1 - Fly out to deep center
9ShirkOUT 2 - Ground out 6-3
5NeiderhiserOUT 3 - Ground out 4-3
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Boston leads 1-0
4th INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Nathan Bearer
16WoodheadOUT 1 - Line out to first base
15DanielsonHIT - Double off leftfield wall
12KantardzicDanielson steals third, no throw
1 RUN - Danielson steals home
OUT 2 - Called strike out
1SantanaOUT 3 - Pop out to second base
1 R 1 H 0 E 0 LOB = Boston leads 2-0
5th INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
18BuziOUT 1 - Swinging strike out
4TrexlerHIT - Single up the middle
24RizzitanoTrexler steals second
OUT 2 - Swinging strike out
2HelselOUT 3 - Fly out to left field
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 2-0
5th INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Nathan Bearer
9SteevesOUT 1 - Ground out 4-3
2WebsterBase on balls
3GonzalezWebster steals second
OUT 2 - Ground out 5-3
4LorenzoHIT/1-RUN - Single to left; Webster scores; Lorenzo to second on throw home
18PowersBase on balls
PITCHING CHANGE: Brad Coleman for Nathan Bearer
16WoodheadOUT 3 - Pop out to short stop
1 R 1 H 0 E 2 LOB = Boston leads 3-0
6th INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
6BoyerOUT 1 - Ground out 4-3
1NegriOUT 2 - Ground out 4-3
12WilliamsHIT - Single to left
9ShirkOUT 3 - Line out to left
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 3-0
6th INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Brad Coleman
15DanielsonHIT - Single to right
12KantardzicOUT 1 - Fielder's choice 5-4
1SantanaOUT 2 - Fielder's choice 5-6
9SteevesOUT 3 - Danielson picked off at first base
0 R 1 H 0 E 0 LOB = Boston leads 3-0
7th INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
5NeiderhiserOUT 1 - Swinging strike out
OFFENSIVE SUBSTITUTION: Pinch hitter Danny Wukich for Bryan Buzi
18BuziOUT 2 - Called strike out
4TrexlerOUT 3 - Swinging strike out
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Boston leads 3-0
7th INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Brad Coleman
9SteevesOUT 1 - Ground out 5-3
2WebsterOUT 2 - Swinging strike out
3GonzalezE5 - Fielding error on short stop
4LorenzoOUT 3 - Fly out to centerfield
0 R 0 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 3-0
8th INNING - Johnstown
Pitcher: Sam Steeves
24RizzitanoOUT 1 - Swinging strike out
2HelselHIT - Single to right
6BoyerOUT 2 - Fly out to center
1NegriHIT/1 RUN - Triple off centerfield wall; Helsel scores
12WilliamsOUT 3 - Swinging strike out
1 R 2 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 3-1
8th INNING - Boston
Pitcher: Brad Coleman
18PowersOUT 1 - Ground out to first
16WoodheadOUT 2 - Ground out 5-3
15DanielsonHIT - Double to left field
12KantardzicOUT 3 - Fly out to right field
0 R 1 H 0 E 1 LOB = Boston leads 3-1
9th INNING - Johnstown
PITCHING CHANGE: Nick Powers for Sam Steeves
DEFENSIVE CHANGE: Adam Woodhead from 3rd to 1st
DEFENSIVE CHANGE: Sam Steeves from pitcher to third base
9ShirkOUT 1 - Called strike out
OFFENSIVE SUBSTITUTION: Pinch hitter Brian Albert for Nathan Neiderhiser
8AlbertOUT 2 - Swinging strike out
18BuziOUT 3 - Ground out 6-3
0 R 0 H 0 E 0 LOB = Boston wins 3-1

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