And just like that, Saegertown’s stupendous spring has come to an end.
Last week, the school was celebrating District 10 championships in three sports — baseball, softball and boys volleyball.
Yet, after Monday the school is left lamenting three season-ending losses, the last of which occurred yesterday evening after the baseball squad fell to Quaker Valley 6-5 in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs at Jerry Uht Park.
“It’s painful,” said Saegertown head coach Tim Crum. “This wasn’t where the goals ended. But you don’t get any second chances at this level. We’re not ready for this to be over. We’ve worked way too hard. But I am really proud of these boys. It was a fantastic season. It was a fantastic run for these seniors. They led the charge for three straight D-10 titles. And there are teams out there that don’t have one D-10 title.
Crum added, “I think we were as good as (Quaker Valley). It just wasn’t our day (Monday).”
Quaker Valley (22-1) pounded out a dozen base hits in the game, benefiting from a swing-first, ask-questions-later approach at the plate.
“When we were in the WPIAL championship game, we took a lot of pitches and fell behind a lot and that hurt us,” said Quakers coach Todd Goble. “So our whole approach (Monday) was to be aggressive early.”
That mentality truly paid off in the fifth inning. Saegertown had a 2-1 lead. And the Quakers had only one out left in the inning when they struck for five straight base hits, bringing home three runs to take a 4-2 lead.
That was the final inning for starting pitcher Luke Carter. He went five frames, allowed four earned runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out two.
Matt Thompson took over on the mound in the fourth, and Quaker Valley led off that inning with three straight hits, scoring two more runs to take a 6-2 lead.
“They out-hit us,” said Crum. “They were jumping all over the ball. And the bottom of the order was doing what ours was doing all year long — they were producing.”
Saegertown wasn’t going down without a fight, though.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Wise led it off with a single down the third base line. Scott Sada drew a walk to put two on with no outs.
Then Stephen Sada belted a triple to right field to bring both runners home. It was his second three-bagger of the game. He also singled and scored in the third inning to tie the game at 1-1.
After his seventh-inning triple, Mitchell Wood brought Sada home with a single through the right side, making it a 6-5 game with the tying run on base and no outs.
The bunt sign was on for Austin Scere. The offering from QV pitcher Jake Pilewicz was well out of the strike zone, leaving Scere little opportunity to put the ball in play. But Wood took off. Catcher Ben Utterback’s throw to second was well ahead of Wood. Wood turned around and tried to make it back to first, but was gunned down.
The wind seemed sucked out of Saegertown’s sails. The last two batters went down in order. Game over.
“We had a bunt on,” said Crum. “It wasn’t a straight steal. (Wood) was being aggressive. We were trying to get that runner into scoring position. Then we’d have one out and our 4 and 5 batters up. It wasn’t Mitch’s mistake. I don’t want him shouldering that burden. It wasn’t any one kid’s mistake. We still had two outs. We still could have made something happen. But we didn’t do it.”
Pilewicz earned the win on the mound, working the final three innings in relief. He allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
Garbee, the starter, went four innings, allowed two runs on six hits, walked two and struck out zero.
Quaker Valley moves on to face Shady Side Academy — a winner over Blairsville yesterday, 3-1 in eight innings — in the PIAA quarterfinals.
Saegertown finishes its season with a record of 19-3 and says good-bye to five seniors, including, Carter, Stephen Sada, Scere, Tyler Walters, Jacob Digiacomo and Tyler McCray.
And just like that, Saegertown’s stupendous spring has come to an end.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
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