NORTHUMBERLAND — The Lewisburg American Legion baseball team is officially on a roll.
Post 182 picked up its third straight win on Tuesday night as Josh Heath and Aaron Hoover combined for a one-hit shutout of Sunbury/Northumberland at Pineknotter Park, 3-0.
The dynamic pitching duo of Heath and Hoover combined for 12 strikeouts on the night and the Lewisburg defense played a near-spotless game in the field as first-year manager Luke Smith’s squad pushed its winning streak to three.
Post 182 played a fundamentally-sound game against Sunbury/Norry, both in the field and at the plate, and Smith noted that his hands-off approach in managing a veteran group of players has paid dividends early on in Susquehanna Valley American Legion League play.
“We have a lot of older guys on the roster right now who have been playing legion ball for years or high school ball consistently and they know the pressure that comes with those games,” Smith said. “They know that they’re not going to get any flak from me for making physical mistakes during the game and that kind of frees them up to go out there and have fun. That’s what Legion ball is about around the area and I want these guys to have fun while learning and play the positions that they want to play.”
It was evident from Heath’s warm-up pitches prior to Sunbury/Norry’s first batter that the big righty had more than enough velocity to be extremely effective on the mound.
Heath, who led the Lewisburg Green Dragons’ varsity squad with a .437 batting average as a sophomore this past season, surrendered just one hit — a two-out single in the first — during his four innings of work. Heath also struck out five against two walks and thoroughly impressed his head coach.
“Josh Heath is going to hit the ball for us, he was unbelievable in high school this year, but I was most impressed with his pitching tonight,” Smith said. “His mechanics, just so far during the Legion season, are so smooth out there. It looks like he’s not even trying to throw the ball hard, but he’s throwing pretty well. Heath is more of a power pitcher than Hoover, but today he had it going with the slider and the fastball and he was pitching to contact and we were making plays behind him.”
Post 182 jumped out to a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game thanks to a leadoff double by centerfielder Andrew Ramirez which was immediately followed by an RBI single by Hoover, who advanced to second base on the throw home.
Lewisburg would tack on another run in the frame, this time with two outs, when shortstop Aaron Strosser singled home Hoover from third after he advanced on a ground out by Heath.
That would be more than enough offense for Heath, Hoover and the rest of Post 182.
Hoover worked three innings in relief of Heath and picked up the save for Lewisburg. Hoover was even more dominant than his teammate as he racked up seven strikeouts and did not allow a hit.
Aside from the performances by his pitchers, Smith made sure to mention the work of his young catcher, Kadyn Magyar.
“I was also pretty impressed with how Kadyn Magyar called the game for us today,” Smith said. “He’s a young guy for us and he’s willing to do anything for us and I appreciate that. He has gotten so much better for us behind the plate this year compared to last and I don’t call the games because I want my catchers to learn the pitchers. Magyar called a great game, I just want to credit him both for that and his defense because he did not let many balls get past him tonight.”
The victory against Sunbury/Norry raised Post 182’s record to 3-1 on the young season. Lewisburg will be back in action at home against Mifflinburg on Friday night with the time of the first pitch scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
Lewisburg 3, Sunbury/Northumberland 0
at Pineknotter Park
Lewisburg 201 000 0 — 3-8-1
Sun/Norry 000 000 0 — 0-1-1
Josh Heath, Aaron Hoover (5) and Kadyn Magyar. K. Hoffman, A. Hoffman (4) and Raker.
WP: Heath. LP: K. Hoffman.
Lewisburg hitters: Andrew Ramirez, double, run scored; Hoover, 2-for-4, RBI, run; Snyder, 2-for-3, double, run; Heath, triple, RBI; Aaron Strosser, single, RBI; Kaiden Wagner, single.
Sunbury/Norry hitters: Faust, single.