BEECH CREEK - Beech Creek Senior Legion manager Gay Hanley knew his team needed a solid performance after a heart-breaking loss against State College the previous night.
He called upon his starting pitcher, Justin Houser, for the that performance, yesterday against Penns Valley in Beech Creek.
Houser did not dissappoint.
He threw six strong innings of work, holding the visiting PV team to just three hits en route to a 3-0 victory for the Crickets.
"Justin pitched a great game," Hanley said. "His pitch count was around 90 and that is a lot for his first outing. We wanted to get him some rest. We have quite a few games coming up here in the next few days and we want to make sure he can go again."
Houser got all the run support he needed in the first inning.
Chuck Probst and Cole Hanley led off the opening frame with back-to-back singles.
After a Kyle McGregor ground out, Devin Stacey proved to be the spark plug in the Cricket offense.
Stacey ripped a 2-1 fastball out to left-center field, good enough to bring home both Probst and Cole Hanley.
"That was real important," coach Hanley said. "Devin came up and smacked that double for us. It put us in the lead and it got the boys in a relaxed mode."
Relaxed indeed, as Houser mowed through the Penns Valley batting order, ringing up six strikeouts while issuing only two walks.
Behind Houser, the Crickets played superb in the field - committing only two errors, while keeping PV from crossing the plate.
"Our defense came together," Gay Hanley said. "They looked good, all-in-all. Once this defense gets rolling, they are fun to watch."
Already up 2-0, it would be Stacey who got the Crickets rolling against in the fourth, when he crushed a double to center field to opening the frame.
The next batter, Clayton Butler, brought Stacey home with a seeing-eye single through the infield, good enough for a 3-0 lead.
The Crickets ended the day with nine hits - including two from Probst, Stacey, Butler and Houser.
"We hit the ball well, hard," coach Hanley said. "We had a few situations with runners in scoring position and we didn't get the hit. That is baseball. We put the ball in play, just right at people."
Beech Creek will host Mifflin County on Wednesday.
"We need to keep hitting the ball hard," Gay Hanley said. "Mifflin County is a great team and we have to be ready to play some solid ball. If we keep getting better - like we did tonight - we will be OK."
BEECH CREEK 3,
PENNS VALLEY 0
PV 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
BC 200 100 X - 3 9 2
PV: Tobias, Moss (4) and Treaster. BC: Houser, Hanley (7) and Butler. WP - Houser. LP - Tobias. S - Hanley. HR: None. 3B: None. 2B: BC, Probst, Stacey (2). MH: BC, Probst, Stacey, Butler, Houser. Record: BC 2-1.