North Penn ad­vances to cham­pi­onship

North Penn Life - - SPORTS - By An­drew Mar­cus amar­cus@th21st-cen­tu­ryme-

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.”

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