North Penn advances to championship
There was no play at third base, but North Penn’s Eddie Posavec still slid like a throw was sailing by his ear, ready to cut him down. His third inning triple broke RSHQ WKH 3,AA 4A sHPLfiQDO gDPH wLWK 3HQQrLGgH -uQH 11. The 3-0 score stuck and the Knights secured a trip to State College for the state championship game.
At Penn State at 6 p.m. -uQH 14, WKH .QLgKWs wDs set to face District Three’s Lower Dauphin. The Fal- cons beat North Allegheny 1-0 in 10 innings behind a walk-off home run. It will be the Knights’ second state WLWOH gDPH DSSHDrDQFH LQ fivH years.
“There have been things that have made this an atypical season,” Knights’ coach Kevin Manero said. “But they have never lost that hunger. These kids are focused.”
Posavec supplied the power and his battery-mate senior Brian Maher did the rest. Maher’s four-hit shutout silenced the Rams’ bats and before they could blink it was over. In a tidy two- hour game, the Rams rarely found a source of momentum.
“It went pretty quick,” RDPs sHQLRr firsW EDsHPHQ -DNH GRrGRQ sDLG. “:H WrLHG to slow him down, but when he’s throwing strikes you cannot just look at them. :H wHrH FRQfiGHQW wH FRuOG come back, but that’s baseball. We still proved people wrong this season. We expected to be here.”
Gordon hit a leadoff double in the seventh inning, but Maher was able to retire the next three batters in order, sWrLNLQg RuW WKH fiQDO KLWWHr of the game for his fourth strikeout of the night. Maher also struck out the Rams’ three-hole hitter in the third inning to leave two runners stranded.
“0RsW WHDPs TuLFNOy fiQG out that I throw strikes,” Maher said. “It helped to know who can hit, which is their entire lineup, but we talked about it, and went out and just tried to do my job.”
Rams senior Evan Myers absorbed the loss, though he wDs MusW Ds HIfiFLHQW LQ fivH of the six innings he spent on the Spring-Ford mound. 0yHrs DOORwHG fivH KLWs LQ
the game, three coming in the crucial third inning. Seniors Brady West and Brad Bertucci both singled before Posavec capped the inning with a triple to the deepest part of Rams Stadium.
“I thought it was a sac fly, but it just kept carrying,” Posavec said. “I saw it was down and I took a chance getting to third. We probably faced Evan four times in the last two years and we knew his game plan.”
Bertucci’s single started the scoring as sophomore AnWKRny CDPHrRn cDPH around to score. Cameron — who began starting at second base in the playoffs — reached base after being hit by a pitch to start the game-winning rally.
“When we get production out of the bottom of our order it goes a long way,” Manero said. “We need guys on base when the top of the order comes up. I felt good about the three runs and Brian went out and kept doing his job.”
AIWHr WKH .nLJKWV ErRNH through, Maher retired 10 RI WKH finDO 12 EDWWHrV KH faced, including a stretch of seven in a row. The Rams’ offense that helped WKHP rHDcK WKH VHPLfinDO game was unable to greet the right-hander’s pitches with the sweet spot of the bat.
“We were trying to be aggressive but just could not get the good part of the bat and get anything rolling,” Rams coach Tom Nuneviller said. “Brian was working the outside corner. He was tremendous.”
The Knights were tied for third place in the Suburban One Conference with the Rams, were beaten three times by the Rams prior to the win June 11, but through it all they never lost focus and they never ORVW cRnfidHncH. TKHy dR not plan on losing again this season.
“This team plays loose and has fun,” Manero said. “But at the same time they get after things. To know you are going out to Happy Valley to play for a state title you have to enjoy that, but when we get back to work tomorrow we need to know there is one more baseball game to play.”