By Pete Chiodo
This postseason, the Cochranton baseball team has been the beneficiary of a 1-0 result and, as of Monday, has been the victim of a 1-0 result after falling to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart by the smallest of margins in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs yesterday at Jerry Uht Park.
The District 10 champion Cardinals end the season with a record of 12-6.
“I feel bad for the seniors,” said Cards head coach John Svirbly. “They’re upset, but at the same time they are accepting it. They knew what to expect. They knew they had to come up here and battle. And they battled. We just couldn’t get the job done. The other team just did a little more.”
OLSH (20-3) struck for one run in the top of the first inning on a two-out double by Preston Falascino and a single up the middle from Jason Lanoy.
That was it for offense from the Chargers. But that would be all the offense the Chargers would need.
Falascino — a senior pitcher who will be playing for Slippery Rock University next spring — did a number on Cochranton’s offense, holding the Cards to two base hits while walking just one and striking out nine.
Falascino found himself in trouble just once in the ball game. It was in the bottom of the second. Caleb Peterson drew a walk and then made it to second on an errant pick-off attempt. Then Cody Nageotte reached on a tricky infield single deep in the hole at second.
Peterson made it to third on the play, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
However, Falascino struck out the next three batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
“We couldn’t get the clutch hit,” said Svirbly. “We couldn’t get (Peterson) home.”
Falascino faced just one batter over the minimum from that point on, retiring 18 of the final 19 batters in the ball game.
OLSH didn’t fare that much better against Ryan Northcott. The Cardinals’ ace kept his team in the game with another gutsy outing on the mound. He finished the afternoon with five hits allowed, three walks and eight strikeouts. How-ever, the back-to-back hits he surrendered in the first proved to be enough.
“It was a pitching battle,” said OLSH head coach Phil McCarren. “Northcott pitched a great game. It was evenly matched. Both teams battled out there. We just happened to get the one that counted.”
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (20-3) now moves on to Thursday’s Class A quarterfinals, where it will face California, an 8-0 winner over Elk County Catholic.