HOWARD - Howard's Tyler Womer strolled to the plate - with the game tied at 2 in the third inning - looking to help his team grab any momentum.
After two straight strikes, Womer unloaded on an 0-2 fastball from Lewistown's Tanner Kibe and watched as it sailed over the center-field fence, swinging the big mo' to the Hawks early.
"That was important," Howard manager Jim Gardner said. "It shut down their attack and gave us the lead. Tyler came up big for us with that swing."
With the Centre County League season winding to a close, both the Lewistown Predators and Howard were looking to create some breathing room in the standings.
It ultimately was Howard who found some room, utilitizing a balanced offensivee attack and workman-like effort from Brian Pelka on the mound, downing the Predators, 11-4, yesterday in Centre County.
"This was a big win for us," Gardner said. "Lewistown is a great team. They are right around us in the standing. When we can put a win up against them, it puts us in a better situation heading into the playoffs. Last time we played, they shut us down. Today was nice for us. Brian pitched well, we put some runs up and got some big hits."
The Hawks, from top-to-bottom, battered the Lewistown pitchers - with everyone in the batting order reaching base.
"That is key," Gardner said. "When you can spread the hits out up-and-down the line up, it is huge. You can have a few great hitters in the middle of the line up, but if they are the only ones hitting, you aren't going to score runs. When you can spread them out across the order, you are going to be successful. We were able to do that today."
Dylan Womer led the way for Howard, going 4-for-5 on the night, including two doubles and four RBI.
"He is doing really well," Gardner said. "He is just 17. In fact, the middle of the infield is young and they are doing really well. They are playing with the adults and showing they belong. Dylan's two doubles were both right down the line and they were big for us."
Evan Gettig also came up big for the Hawks, going 3-for-4, with a triple, a double, 2 RBI and scored four times.
With Howard's Travis Price out of the line up at second base, Gage Gardner filled in nicely for the County League star, picking up two singles and scored once.
Pelka continued to show off his work-horse arm, tossing a complete-game, seven-hitter to the Predators. He struck out six while giving up four runs - including a two-run home run to Kevin Reigle in the fourth.
"He did a great job," coach Gardner said. "He is a smart pitcher and knows what he has. His location is great and can throw three or more of his pitches for strikes. That is big because he can keep any hitter off-balance."
It was back-and-forth to start the game, with each team grabbing the lead in the first few innings.
The Hawks started out hot, picking up an early 1-0 lead, after Gettig was plated home by a Bones Fisher double.
Lewistown answered back in the second - picking up two runs off a fielding error by the Howard firstbaseman.
The game was tied back up in the bottom of the second, after Gage Gardner scored in the second off an error.
Tyler Womer's home run gave the Hawks the lead again in the third, only to see Reigle's home run give the Predators a 4-3 lead.
The final three innings proved to be the difference for the Hawks, as they scored two in the bottom of the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth - clinching the 11-4 victory and giving them a firm hold on the fourth spot in the standings.
Howard will host Unionville on Thursday.
Centre County League Baseball
HOWARD 11, LEWISTOWN 4
L 020 200 0 - 4 7 2
H 111 224 X - 11 14 2
WP - Brian Pelka. LP - Kyle Sherbert. HR: L, Kevin Reigle. H, Tyler Womer. 3B: H, Evan Gettig. 2B: L, Kibe. H, Dylan Womer 2, Bones Fisher. MH: L, Shawn Heckert, 3 hits. H, D. Womer 4 hits, Gettig 3, T. Womer, Gage Gardner. Records: L 9-6. H 10-6.