The Saegertown Swat Club can hurt an opponent in a hurry.
Just ask Franklin.
Jump-started by back-to-back home runs from Mitchell Wood and Austin Scere, the two-time defending District 10 Class AA champion Panthers broke a scoreless game with four runs in the fourth inning for a 6-0 six-inning victory over the Knights on Tuesday night at Ainsworth Field.
The first-round playoff game was called after the sixth inning due to a severe thunderstorm.
Saegertown (18-2) will play Wilmington — which upset Titusville 8-5 last night — in a semifinal matchup on Friday at a site and time to be determined.
A second go-around for the Panthers was the winning formula against Franklin.
After managing only a single from Stephen Sada in the first inning and a double from Luke Carter in the second, the Saegertown Swat Club unloaded in the fourth.
Jumping on a 3-2 offering from Franklin pitcher Nick Emerson, Wood electrified the SHS dugout with a home run over the miniature Fenway Park right-field fence.
Two pitches later, the Panthers led 2-0 as Scere cleared the 317-foot, left-field fence with a solo blast ... as mentioned, the SSC can strike within seconds.
“Mitchell and Austin sure put a jolt in our dugout with those two blasts,” said Saegertown coach Tim Crum. “They have been tearing the cover off the ball as of late.”
The rolling Panthers weren’t done in the fourth. With two outs, Drew Durasa lined a single to center field and Matt Thompson reached on an error.
Going with the pitch, Kyle Wise followed with a two-run double down the right-field line.
The key to Saegertown’s breakout inning?
“Their (Franklin) starting pitcher didn’t have much of a breaking ball, so I told our players to sit on the fastball ... and we did,” said Crum. “If a pitcher is only one dimensional against us, he will be in trouble.”
The Wood-and-Scere duo did more damage in the fifth — drilling consecutive doubles. And Carter came through with a two-out, run-scoring single to increase the Panthers’ lead to 6-0.
The Franklin “0” line score means one thing: Carter threw another postseason masterpiece. A key pitching cog in the Panthers’ previous two D-10 championships, the right-handed Carter continued his playoff dominance with a six-hit shutout.
Carter was especially tough when Franklin had runners on base.
With runners on first and second with one out in the first inning, the Panthers’ ace bared down and fanned the next two Knights.
The Knights threatened again in the third inning as Clayton Maxon and Nate Cardy lined consecutive two-out singles, but Carter got downright nasty by striking out the next Knights’ batter on three pitches.
“Luke is a big-game pitcher ... that is the bottom line,” said Crum. “He was so efficient. He got stronger as the game went on.”
Game notes: Wood, Scere and Carter were two-for-three ... On the mound, Carter struck out four and walked none. The razor-sharp hurler only threw 70 pitches, 52 for strikes ... Saegertown catcher Tyler Walters made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch in foul territory in the sixth inning.
The Saegertown Swat Club can hurt an opponent in a hurry.
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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