JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – After falling in an early 3-0 hole, the Johnstown Mill Rats rallied back to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth and hold off the Lafayette Aviators 6-5 in their final home game of the season.
The win marks Johnstown’s third straight victory, taking three out of four in the series from Lafayette.
The Mill Rats remain in second place in the Ohio River Valley Division second half standings after top spot holder Chillicothe’s victory over West Virginia on Saturday. Johnstown (24-29, 12-10) is currently one game behind Chillicothe (13-9) and 2.5 games in front of third place Champion City (9-12).
Johnstown was able to shrug off a slow start, as they stranded two base runners in three separate innings, and failed to score with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning. Despite leaving 14 total runners on base, the Mill Rats received key production when they needed it.
After loading the bases with no outs in the sixth, Joe Alcorn was hit by a pitch to drive in a run, while Sam Mast and Mack Higuchi each tallied sacrifice flies to tie the game at 3-3.
Lafayette regained the lead in the seventh on a passed ball, but Higuchi hit an RBI single to again even the score. The Aviators threatened in the eighth, and with two outs and a runner on second, Zamaurion Hatcher hit a line drive that would’ve ricocheted off the wall in left, but Pete Capobianco made a leaping catch while crashing into the wall to keep the score tied.
The Mill Rats carried the momentum into the bottom half, with Andrew Kribbs and Nacumba Booker, Jr. both drawing bases loaded walks to put Johnstown ahead 6-4. Tre Hondras hit his second of two solo home runs to set the final in the ninth.
Johnstown (24-29, 12-10) travels to West Virginia for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.