MILL HALL - Baseball is a strange game at times.
Take yesterday's contest at the Mill Hall Community Park.
It's not many times you can say you are in total control of a game after committing a season-high eight errors in the field.
Yet, there was no doubt starting pitcher Robby Nicodemus and the Wildcats were in total command.
The senior struck out 11 hitters and the Wildcats' offense jumped out with a nine-run first inning en route to a 13-5 victory over Tyrone at the Mill Hall Community Park Friday.
It's amazing to say total control when you have so many errors.
But facts are facts.
Nicodemus struck out the side in the opening inning, and Central Mountain scored nine runs in its at-bat before Tyrone could even record the second out.
Ryan Hill, Nicodemus, Alec Quiggle, Kyle McGregor, Luke Wise and Von Walker all had RBIs in the frame, and another two crossed home on Golden Eagle errors.
When the final out was finally recorded 12 batters into the inning, the scoreboard already read nine.
"That eases the tension," CM manager Mike Kramer said. "Things were going well for us. It puts the pitcher at ease, but maybe it puts the defense at too much ease. We have to heighten our awareness and make plays. Our field is tough, and we know that because we practice here all the time. We have to prepare for what is going to happen."
Nicodemus was a force on the mound.
He threw a complete-game eight-hitter and needed less than 100 pitches to finish it off.
He punched out five of the first nine batters, and only allowed three earned runs.
Nothing phased him.
Like a total zone standing on the bump.
"The first inning, I actually didn't feel that good. I started to feel pretty good in the second inning. It was kind of weird," Nicodemus said. "The errors really didn't bother me. You know that they are going to make the next play."
Nicodemus has been been on a tear at the plate.
In his last two games, he was 9-for-9 with nine RBIs, and in his 10th plate appearance, he was struck by a pitch.
That's why it was no surprise to see him drive a run in during the opening frame.
But he carried his momentum from the plate over to the hill.
"Robby started off real strong," Kramer said. "We always talk about setting the tone, and he really did that. He dominated from pitch No. 1. What made him so effective is that he changed speeds so well, and had command of all of his pitches. I'm happy for him.
"He's even keeled. Not too much rattles him. It is tough because he's a gamer and wants to get each kid out. Sometimes, those errors could affect you, but Robby did a great job of just focusing on the next pitch."
Tyrone scored two runs, both unearned, in the second before the Wildcats (7-0) responded.
A run scored when the Golden Eagle shortstop couldn't handle a hot shot off the bat of Cayden Stover in the third, and Brad Walker cleated the dish in the fourth on a passed ball.
CM added two in the sixth on back-to-back run-scoring singles by Phil Holter and McGregor.
The locals had 12 hits, all singles, led by two each from Wise, Quiggle and McGregor.
Tyrone's starting pitcher Jordan Miller went 3-for-3 to lead the Golden Eagles.
"We've had a lot of high-scoring games recently, but we started out with a 4-1 and 4-3 ballgame against Bellefonte and Penns Valley," Kramer said. "They battled in close games, and we've been fortunate in the last few games to put together the big inning and play with a nice lead. I expect some tight ballgames next week, so we'll just have to focus on each play."
Next week will be a challenge.
After starting out at Clearfield, the Wildcats will take on District IV champ Jersey Shore Wednesday and newly-formed Mifflin County Friday. MC just picked up back-to-back wins over Bald Eagle Area and Bellefonte on consecutive days.
"We have to play one game at a time, and take them as they comes. That starts with Clearfield on Monday," Kramer said.
Mountain League Baseball
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 13, TYRONE 5
T020 002 1 - 5 8 5
C901 102 x - 13 12 8
T: Jordan Miller, Matt Hample (4) and Adam Flich, Brad Wirtner (5). CM: Robby Nicodemus and Ryan Hill. WP - Nicodemus. LP - Miller. 2B: T, Miller. MH: T, Miller 3, Matt Hample 2. CM: Luke Wise 2, Alec Quiggle 2, Kyle McGregor 2. Record: T 5-4, CM 7-0.