JACOBUS — The Fourth of July always boasts a festive atmosphere in Jacobus.
In addition to the “Blast” fair going on, which includes music and food vendors, the Jackals play host to a pair of games in the Susquehanna League on the holiday.
Tuesday’s doubleheader began with a morning showdown against reigning league champion Hallam (13-8). While the atmosphere was full of fun for many in attendance, the hosts didn’t enjoy that same emotion facing ex-teammate Alex Tucci.
Tucci shut down the Jackals on a hot, humid morning, limiting the hosts to two hits over seven innings. That was easily enough. Angel Matias and Xavier Bonilla supplied the offense with each slugger smashing three-run homers to led the Express to a 7-2 triumph.
“I played here one year for Jacobus, and my first impression (of July 4) was that this was quite the display,” Tucci said. “It never disappoints.”
The towering southpaw almost certainly disappointed Jacobus and its fans on the national holiday. Only No. 2 hitter Anthony Ferrell was able to find any level of success against Tucci, who fanned seven hitters while picking up the victory. Ferrell collected both of his team’s hits, including an RBI single in the third.
“I had pretty good fastball command,” Tucci said. “And when I didn’t, I hurt myself a little bit. But we were able to overcome that with a few timely home runs.”
Matias (3 for 3, three RBIs, three runs scored) didn’t let his pitcher take the mound without the lead. The left-handed-hitting first baseman hit a three-run homer in the top of the first. Bonilla (2 for 4) followed that up in the third with another round-tripper that gave Tucci a comfortable 6-0 cushion.
In total, the Express tallied 13 hits, seven of which came against Jacobus starter Kerry Clark, who pitched four innings.
Knaub catches entire game at age 50: While Tucci was masterful, and Matias and Bonilla came up with timely hits, the Hallam starter expressed admiration for his catcher, Corey Knaub. At 50 years old, Knaub caught all seven innings in the heat and humidity while also collecting a pair of hits in four at-bats.
“He’s the ageless wonder,” Tucci said. “I’ll tell you what, he’s doing a hell of a job for us. And I wouldn’t have wanted to be (catching) today in this heat.”
Having a bye for one of the two games normally played on the holiday was an extra blessing for the Express, who were able to save pitching for the rest of the week.
“I’ll tell you what, those teams playing two games today, they’re going to have to fight through this heat,” Hallam manager Rich Day said. “Fortunately for us, we had the best pitcher in the league today. It’s both a luxury and a blessing to have him.”
East Prospect 3, Felton 0: At East Prospect, Seth Lefever pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings for the home team, striking out 11, walking none and scattering 10 hits in the afternoon win. Terry Godfrey pitched the final two-thirds of an inning. Dalton Renn had two hits and a run scored for the Pistons, who scored all of their runs in the fourth inning. Patrick Daugherty and Ben Kitzmiller each had three hits for Felton. First-place East Prospect improved to 18-3.
East Prospect 10, Conrads 3: At Conrads, Ryan Smith (two hits, two runs, RBI), Luis Padilla (two RBIs) and Dalton Renn (double, two RBIs, run) paced East Prospect, which plated seven first-inning runs in the morning contest. Dylan Stoops pitched a complete-game five-hitter, allowing two earned runs. He struck out nine and walked one.
Stewartstown 11, Windsor 4: At Stewartstown, Cody Britain and Craig Martin each had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored to pace the Vets in a morning game. Marcus Stevenson added two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Jason Mitchell got the win in relief, going six innings and allowing one earned run and six hits, with five strikeouts and four walks. Matt Robinson (two hits, RBI, run) and Micah Osenbach (two RBIs) paced Windsor.
Stewartstown 9, Conrads 4: At Stewartstown, the Vets finished off a perfect Fourth of July with the afternoon win behind Cody Brittain, who pitched a complete game, allowing three hits and three earned runs, while striking out 10 and walking five. Adam Allshouse doubled with three RBIs and a run scored for the Vets. Justin Sommer (two hits, double, RBI, run), Marcus Stevenson (two hits, RBI, two runs) and Ryan McMillan (two hits, double, run) also excelled for the winners, who improved to 11-6.
York Township 10, Felton 1: At Township, James Guiseppe pitched a two-hitter, striking out nine and walking two. Andy Freeburger (two hits, two RBIs, run), Matt Attig (two hits, two RBIs, run), D.J. Reed (two hits, double, RBI), Jake Reichard (two hits, two runs, RBI), Brady Lefever (hit, two walks, three runs) and Austin Martinez (hit, two walks, two runs) paced the winning offense.
York Township 5, Red Lion 4: At Red Lion, Township went 2-0 on the day with the afternoon win. Derek Pitzer (three hits, double, RBI), Matt Attig (two hits), D.J. Reed (double, two RBIs, two runs) and Micah Striebig (double, two RBIs) led Township (13-9), which scored two runs in the top of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie. Thomas Taylor two hits and an RBI for Red Lion.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.