The official opening night game of the 76th annual AAABA Tournament ended in dramatic fashion as Johnstown Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors designated hitter Austin Homer laced a two-out, run-scoring single down the left-field line as the host team walked off the New Brunswick Matrix 5-4 on Monday, August 2.
Homer’s single put a crowd of 5,680 fans into a celebratory mood at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point.
Johnstown relief pitcher Bobby Kusinsky tossed 3 1/3 scoreless frames to earn the victory on the mound.
The Matrix overcame a 4-1 deficit with four extra-base hits in a three-run top of the fifth inning. Christian Petriello doubled and Justin Scott smacked a two-run homer to ignite the rally. Gianni Marrano doubled and scored on Steve Yellen’s double.
Paul Carpenter had a two-run triple by Brandon Lane and a two-run single by Joe Olsavsky.
Of course, Opening Night included a parade by the Flood City Corvette Club, which brought into the Point the AAABA Ambassadors who waved to the fans from the convertibles. Players from the 14 remaining teams followed the vehicles into the stadium, holding signs recognizing their franchise cities.
A scholarship in honor of the late Johnstown baseball icon Ken Keiper was presented by his family. A plaque, renamed in honor of the late Tribune-Democrat sports writer Cory Isenberg was given to Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors manager Dave Sheriff. The plaque, formerly known as the Home Plate Award, is presented annually by the newspaper to the winner of the local Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League.
Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association President George Arcurio III recognized the New Orleans franchise for 75 years of playing in the AAABA Tournament. Arcurio presented a clock to AAABA Hall of Famer Joe Scheuermann and his son Tyler Scheuermann, who both remain key figures in the Louisiana franchise’s annual treks to Johnstown.
The “Bomb Squad” made its presence felt throughout the evening as thousands of fans responded each time the booms echoed across the valley.
Other opening-day scores included:
- Columbus 20, Brooklyn-2 7 at Portage’s Haschak Field.
- Cleveland 13, Zanesville 1 (7) at Lilly Washington War Memorial Field.
- Philadelphia 16, Altoona-2 Johnston Realty 0 (7) at Roxbury Park.
- Brooklyn-1 Cougars 7, Youngstown 4 at Westmont HS.
- Maryland State 12, North Carolina 3 at Forest Hills
- New Orleans 12, Johnstown-2 Martella’s Pharmacy 2 (7) at the Point.
- Altoona-1 Cumming Motors 6, Buffalo 3 at Mount Aloysius.
The AAABA Tournament is scored on GameChanger. For more details: