Yohn fires gem as Red Raiders top Warriors - 2018 NTL and District 4 News - WellsboroAthletics.com

Yohn fires gem as Red Raiders top Warriors.

By: Devin Bierly | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | May 24, 2018


MONTGOMERY — Gage Yohn knew all the pressure was on him. Not wanting to let down Montgomery's four seniors, Yohn knew he had to be on.

Pitch after pitch he stepped up to the rubber and frustrated Canton batters. Watch the movement of his curve or hear the whistle of his fastball and it was apparent Yohn was going to go down throwing and throwing hard.

The junior righthander didn't give up an earned run in 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball, Brayden Strouse earned the save in 1 2/3 innings, and Jensen Drick's two-run, fifth-inning home run provided a boost as Montgomery opened the District 4 Class A playoffs with a 4-1 win over Canton on Wednesday afternoon at River Field.

"Sometimes he struggles early and as the game keeps going and going and going, he gets stronger. (Wednesday), he started off that way," Whitlow Wertz said. "That's a big plus for us when he gets out of the chute quick and he's twice as effective. Not that he doesn't do his job, but sometimes he throws too many pitches, but (Wednesday) he was dead on."

Yohn had little trouble getting acclimated early and showed no signs of jitters in one of the biggest games of his life. The hard-throwing pitcher struck out four, walked only one, and allowed just one baserunner to reach second base in the first five innings, and that was on a stolen base. Also, Yohn only allowed one hit in the first four innings as he lowered his ERA to 1.42.

"I just wanted to come into this game and play my best. It could've been our seniors' last game and I just wanted to make it the best for them," Yohn said. "It's great to move on, but as long as we have a great experience with them, that's all that really matters."

Drick, one of four Montgomery seniors, made sure yesterday wasn't going to be his last game. The catcher went 2 for 3 with the two-run home run and three RBIs. His two-out, fifth-inning blast to left center field on an 0-1 pitch doubled Montgomery's lead and was a gut punch to a resilient Canton squad which received strong pitching from Taylor Acla and Micheal Smithers, who combined to give up seven hits.

"That was big. As soon as it left that bat, the pitcher dropped his head, he knew and everybody else was like, ‘Aw shucks,'" Wertz said. "That was big, but he plays big every game. That catcher is better than 90 percent of the catchers in this area and that home run just boosted everyone."

Back-to-back singles on back-to-back pitches by Eithan Marino and Drick in the first inning gave Montgomery an early 1-0 lead. It added the second run in the fourth on Trevor Miller's single up the middle. That's all the offense Yohn and Marino needed to lead a streaking Montgomery team which, after starting the season 1-3, has won nine of its last 10 and four straight, into the district semfinals against Sayre on Saturday.

"We're definitely coming together more as a family now," Yohn said. "The beginning of the season was a little rocky but we're coming together and forming a great ball team."

"This is where you gotta peak," Wertz said. "You gotta peak in the playoffs and that's what we've done for years."