Jason Malkowski pitched shutout ball until the ninth and the Buffalo Leibs exploded for 11 runs in the last two innings in a 12-1 rout of Johnston Realty of Altoona, Pa., Tuesday in the AAABA National Tournament in Johnstown, Pa.
Leibs scored a run in the first inning and Malkowski held the lead, allowing five hits, four of them singles, until he was relieved with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Buffalo will face defending champion New Orleans Boosters in its final game of Pool A play on Wednesday in nearby Lilly, Pa. Leibs (1-1) must upset the Boosters (2-0) and have Altoona (0-2) defeat Chicago Metro (1-1) in order to advance to the semifinals on Thursday. Chicago defeated Leibs, 10-3, on Monday then lost to New Orleans, 6-1, on Tuesday.
Leibs scored four times in the eighth for a 5-0 lead. A botched double-play ball with one out in the ninth opened the way for a seven-run inning in the game that was played in nearby Windber, Pa. Brandon Nicholson, Ryan McCarrick, Alex Whittle and Ryan Howard had two hits each for Leibs. Whittle, Mike Colosi and Ben Monti had two RBIs each.
Meanwhile, in the NABF Major World Series in Battle Creek, Mich., Buffalo Muny AAA champion Battistoni Diesel, will begin its national championship defense when it sends 2015 World Series MVP Kevin Hughes to the mound against host HBC/Behnke at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in the official opening game at C.O. Brown Stadium