BLANCHARD — The Blanchard Bees and Howard Hawks both had big offensive nights as they took the opening games of their respective Centre County Baseball League semifinal series on July 13.
The Bees scored five second-inning runs and then four more in the fourth as they overcame Pleasant Gap at home, 11-3, while Howard’s Dan Cole smashed two home runs and knocked in six runs in an 11-1 Hawk victory over defending champion Lemont.
Howard and Pleasant Gap qualified for the semifinals with first round wins over Spring Creek and Spring Mills, with the Hawks taking the series against Spring Creek, 2-0, and the Peppers winning Game 3 over Spring Mills, 11-5, on July 12.
At Blanchard on Tuesday, Bee pitcher Kenny Heverly was not as overpowering as usual, but no matter.
The Bees got an RBI single from Talon Falls in the first inning, and then Falls broke the game open with a threerun home run in the second that gave Blanchard a comfy 6-1 early lead.
In the fourth, Falls had another RBI hi — this time a double — that followed a two-run homer by Asher Corl, and the Bees were well on their way to a Game 1 win.
Pleasant Gap did get a run in the first inning and then two more on a two-RBI triple by Tyler Lalli in the third, but that was all the Peppers could get against Heverly.
In all, Blanchard totaled 10 hits, while Falls finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs and Corl had two hits and three RBIs.
The series will now move to the Shaner Complex for Game 2 on Thursday, July 16 at 5:45 p.m.
At Shaner on Tuesday, the Hawks left no doubt that they had come to play.
They scored three in the first after five of their first six batters hit safely, with Justin Taylor, Dan Cole, and pitcher Dylan Womer each stroking RBI hits.
Then in the second inning, Evan Gettig and Justin Taylor both doubled to push across a run, and No. 3 hitter Cole cleared the bases with a two-run homer that put the Hawks ahead 6-0.
With Womer throwing shutout ball, Cole struck again in the sixth with a threerun home run, and Howard was coasting along with a 10-0 lead.
Lemont scored a run in the sixth to spoil Womer’s shutout, but it was too late and Howard took the game, 11-1.
Cole had a career day, going 3-for-4, with a double, two home runs, and six RBIs, and Justin Taylor had three hits, two doubles, and three RBIs. Womer pitched a complete game, giving up one run on three hits, striking out six and walking just one. That series will now move to Howard for Game 2 on Thursday, July 16, at 5:45 p.m.