La Salle routs Red Lion in quar­ters

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­son@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

LAN­CASTER » For Eric Marash­eski and his team­mates, every mo­ment is pre­cious.

The La Salle se­nior short­stop has al­ready grad­u­ated, so the only time he has left with his team­mates is the time they spend prac­tic­ing, driv­ing to and from fields and play­ing games. They have at most a week left to­gether, but base­ball is a game that guar­an­tees noth­ing so the Ex­plor­ers are do­ing all they can to earn more time to­gether.

La Salle did that em­phat­i­cally on Thurs­day, ham­mer­ing out nine two-out runs in the bot­tom of the first in­ning and just kept go­ing as they clob­bered Red Lion 13-0 in five in­nings at Man­heim Twp in their PIAA 6A base­ball quar­ter­fi­nal game.

“There’s some­thing dif­fer­ent with this team, I have fun all the time with these guys,” Marash­eski said. “Even if I’m not hit­ting well or not field­ing well, they’re al­ways pick­ing me up. We’re al­ways laugh­ing. It’s just con­stant jok­ing around, in the dugout, we’re just bust­ing on each other. The hard­est part of the sea­son end­ing is not get­ting to be with this group of team­mates any­more but every sec­ond we have right now, we’re all en­joy­ing it.”

Marash­eski was one of three Ex­plor­ers to hit a two-run home­run, with his third in­ning shot giv­ing him pos­ses­sion of the team’s Home Run Ham­mer and putting the run rule into play. The se­nior, a Har­leysville res­i­dent and Prince­ton re­cruit, walked his first time up, then hit a triple in his sec­ond at-bat in the first in­ning.

A switch-hit­ter, Marash­eski nor­mally likes to stick to one side of the plate but after belt­ing the triple lefty, switched sides of the plate against Red Lion re­liever Tyler Stab­ley. The choice worked out as he put the first pitch over the fence in left-cen­ter to bring his RBI to­tal to a team-best four on the day.

“I wanted to stay in the mid­dle of the field be­cause the gaps were pretty big and I was pretty lucky to squeak that one out,” Marash­eski said. “Be­ing righty

helped be­cause when you drop down low as a lefty hit­ter, it’s hard to get that an­gle. I just wanted to at­tack early, got a first-pitch fast ball and just stay in the mid­dle of the field.

“All sea­son, when I’ve got­ten the ham­mer, some­one al­ways takes it, usu­ally in the same in­ning. It’s good to have it now but you want your team­mates to hit home runs so I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing who that next per­son is.”

The first in­ning was text­book La Salle of­fen­sively, even if all the dam­age came with two outs. Ex­plor­ers coach Kyle Wer­man knew they were fac­ing a good arm in CJ Cz­er­win­ski and when two of the first three bat­ters made outs, Wer­man was ready for a tough bat­tle.

In­stead, se­nior Brian Schaub worked out of a 1-2 hole to a full count, then cranked Cz­er­win­ski’s next pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer and a big shot of adren­a­line to the La Salle bench. Owen Lawn hit an RBI sin­gle, Joe Sortino sin­gled in two runs and Marash­eski’s triple plated a pair of run­ners to run the lead up to 7-0.

La Salle’s No. 2 hit­ter An­drew Cos­setti ended the scor­ing with a two-run shot that clanged off the score­board in left cen­ter, mak­ing for a re­ally good dent­ing the score­board metaphor.

“It takes some­body step­ping up to have a good at­bat, you saw that out of Brian Schaub and that kind of ig­nited things,” Wer­man said. “I told the guys that’s what I was re­ally proud of. You talk about com­pet­ing and bat­tling then you get two quick outs and sud­denly it feels like it’s go­ing to be that type of game, then you bat­tle, get a twostrike, two-out home run and you roll.”

Red Lion, the Dis­trict 3 run­ner-up, re­lied mostly on its pitch­ing and timely hit­ting through­out the sea­son. Marash­eski said the Ex­plor­ers were mind­ful of that and knew any early runs would be huge. He wasn’t ex­pect­ing a ninespot, but the short­stop knew that type of lead was go­ing to greatly aid pitcher Gavin Moret­ski.

Moret­ski, who closed out Mon­day’s win over Con­estoga in the first round, threw very well in his four in­nings of work on Thurs­day. The ju­nior righty struck out three, al­lowed three hits and most im­por­tantly, found ways to work ahead and record big outs.

“I knew I had to keep all three of my pitches in the zone and trust my de­fense be­hind me like I have been do­ing all year and hope it leads me to suc­cess, which has been work­ing well so far,” Moret­ski said. “The big thing to­day was first­pitch strikes, just pound the zone right away and try to punch them in the face and get ahead.”

Moret­ski, a Hat­field res­i­dent, called the two dou­ble plays mo­men­tum chang­ers and also felt Mon­day’s ap­pear­ance let him come out more com­fort­able on Thurs­day.

“First pitch strike is the only thing on my mind right now, it’s get that and go from there,” Moret­ski said. “In the be­gin­ning of the year, I had trou­ble lo­cat­ing my pitches a lit­tle bit but it’s got­ten bet­ter over the year and right now, it’s all about throw­ing that first-pitch strike.”

Re­serves Kyle O’Con­nor and Luke Radaszewski each added RBI singles in the fourth in­ning for the Ex­plor­ers.

La Salle will face Dis­trict I cham­pion Ben­salem in the state semi­fi­nals on Mon­day at a site and place to be an­nounced. The Owls, who beat Wil­liamsport 6-0, present a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge start­ing with their tan­dem of aces in Nick Dean and Stephen Aldrich.

“We’re go­ing to have to keep do­ing what we’re do­ing,” Marash­eski said. “In states, you face every team’s ace and we’ve proven we can hit those type of arms. We have to stick with our ap­proach and get run­ners on. I know Aldrich and Dean through travel ball and they both have good stuff and it’s go­ing to be a chal­lenge, but we’re look­ing for­ward to it.”

MARK PALCZEWSKI/FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Brian Schaub (11) of La Salle cel­e­brates his HR to give the Ex­plor­ers a 2-0 lead against Red Lion in PIAA Class 6A base­ball quar­ter­fi­nal play­off ac­tion at Man­heim Town­ship High School in Lan­caster, PA on Thurs­day.

MARK PALCZEWSKI/FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

John Ruch of La Salle slides home safely to give the Ex­plor­ers a 3-0 lead over Red Lion in PIAA Class 6A base­ball quar­ter­fi­nal play­off ac­tion at Man­heim Town­ship High School in Lan­caster, PA on Thurs­day.

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