By Lisa Byers
LISA BYERS/Meadville Tribune
It’s been nearly a week since the Cochranton baseball team punched its ticket to the District 10 Class A title game with its 1-0 win over Kennedy Catholic.
Will the Cardinals be a little rusty coming out against Eisenhower today in the District 10 championship tilt?
“Not at all,” Cochranton first-year coach John Svirbly said.
In fact, the layoff has put the Cardinals in a pretty good position. They can once again turn to ace Ryan Northcott.
“He’s in a zone right now,” Svirbly said. “He’s been hard to hit. It’s a no-brainer. He can pitch (today) and next week if we need him to.
“If you’ve got the horse, you might as well ride him.”
Northcott and the Cardinals face the Knights today at 11 a.m. at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
The Cardinals enter the contest at 10-6. Cochranton picked up win No. 10 on Wednesday with its shutout of Kennedy Catholic in the District 10 semifinals.
Northcott allowed just three hits, struck out seven and walked three. He threw 85 pitches, 57 were strikes.
Northcott is 7-1 on the year and holds a 2.14 earned run average. In 55 2/3 innings of work, the senior has allowed 23 runs (17 earned) on 40 hits with just 15 walks and 77 strikeouts.
The Cardinals also have some impressive bats led by Jesse Staudt, who is batting a team-best .380 with 15 runs scored, 18 RBIs and 10 extra-base hits. Staudt has a slugging percentage of .740.
Also in the .300-club for the Cardinals are Caleb Peterson (.356), Cody Nageotte (.370), Jake Yarnell (.326), A.J. Nageotte (.373) and Northcott (.340).
The Cardinals face a team that upset top-seeded Rocky Grove to earned its spot in the title game.
Eisenhower knocked off the Orioles 9-5 on Wednesday for just its sixth win of the season. The Knights are 6-11.
The playoff win was the first for Eisenhower since 2004. The Knights were led by sophomore Kyle Hunt, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
The winner of today’s game advances to the PIAA Class A state tournament, which begins June 3, to face the WPIAL runner-up — either Western Beaver or Our Lady Sacred Heart — at a site and time to be determined.