The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

June 9, 2014

State semifinal pits Crushers against unbeaten Elk County Catholic

Undefeated Elk County Catholic stands between Bishop McCort and a second appearance in the PIAA Class A championship baseball game.

The Crusaders have won all 25 games they’ve played, including  10-run, mercy-rule victories in the last week’s state quarterfinal and the District 9-A championship contest on May 29.

Elk County Catholic coach Eric Vogt won his 100th game in the quarterfinals.

“They have a lot of firepower and I’m sure a lot of confidence with their undefeated record,” said Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil, whose Crushers will meet the Crusaders at 4:30 p.m. at Punxsutawney’s Rich Kuntz Memorial Field.

The teams met two years ago in the same round and location. In that semifinal, McCort won 17-0 and went on to capture the state championship four days later.

Today’s winner will advance to the PIAA final on Friday at Penn State University’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

“Their top pitcher is Brandon Schlimm, a guy who can throw in the mid-80s,” Pfeil said of the Elk County Catholic senior captain. “We faced him two years ago in the Western Final, and we were able to put the ball in play and take advantage of some mistakes they made.

“That was two years ago. They have some guys who have matured, some seniors, and they’ve got underclassmen who have stepped up. They’ve been impressive in the playoffs. They won their district title game by 10 runs and they won their state quarterfinal game by 10 runs.”

McCort (18-7) defeated Cranberry 7-2 in the quarterfinals and blanked Eisenhower 5-0 in the opening round of the state playoffs. The Crushers won their third consecutive 6-A title nearly two weeks ago.

“We’ll focus on our game and go about doing what we’ve done all year,” Pfeil said.

Schlimm has been Elk County’s top pitcher, but he was unavailable for the District 9 title game because he had thrown eight innings in a semifinal win.

Senior right-hander Ryan Childs stepped in and pitched four strong innings in the 9-A title game victory. Ross Brennen pitched the final inning in that game.

McCort has ridden the right arm of senior Brad Coleman throughout the playoffs. Coleman was the winning pitcher in all five postseason contests.

Left-hander Nathan Neiderhiser returned after a season interrupted by injury and illness to throw two strong innings of relief in both the PIAA first-round and quarterfinal games.

“We overcame multiple adversity throughout the year. We’re finally healthy. Nathan Neiderhiser has been a boost coming back to us,” Pfeil said. “Brad Coleman has given us some outstanding starts. Offensively we’re starting to come into our own. Nemo Trexler is doing a good job of getting on base at the top of the lineup and when he’s on base, the chances of us scoring go up significantly.”

The Crushers stole 10 bases on 11 chances in the quarterfinal win over Cranberry on Thursday. Overall, McCort has 105 stolen bases on 125 attempts, including Trexler’s stealing 24 on 27 chances, and Alex Sobecky nabbing 18 stolen bases on as many attempts.

“It’s not a secret that we like to be aggressive,” Pfeil said. “We pride ourselves in how hard we work on baserunning. It’s been a big part of our game so far. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some guys on base and pick our spots and advance some runners who can score on base hits.”

McCort has balance in the lineup and a number of different players have provided key hits over the past two weeks.

Nick Gjurich (.381), Sobecky (.380), Nathan Neiderhiser (.357), Cameron Rock (.339), Trexler (.333), Ethan Neiderhiser (.329) and Dan Formica (.315) all are batting over .300 with at least 42 at-bats.

“All nine guys in our batting order have been capable of stepping up at any point,” Pfeil said. “Somebody steps up every game. We don’t know who it’s going to be. We have guys at the bottom of the order who have stepped up and drove in some runs for us.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • ACC Kickoff Football ACC schools get optimism from stability

    Welcome to the new Atlantic Coast Conference.
    It’s where a founding member is out, a fast-rising program is in, Notre Dame is there, too – sort of – and nobody else is leaving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • aaaba 0721 Martella’s sweeps past Delweld

    A six-run rally in the first helped guide Martella’s Pharmacy to an 8-1 win over Delweld in Game 3 of their best-of-5 AAABA League semifinal series at Point Stadium, sweeping the series in the process.
    That rally also continued season-long trends for the clubs, according to their respective managers.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • warshel_0721 Warshel selecting UPJ

    For Kelci Warshel, the call to attend Pitt-Johnstown was based on the availability of her desired major – nursing.
    Taking an opportunity to join the university’s women’s track and field program was a very nice add-on and one that the Richland High graduate is ready to jump into ...
    ... Or hurdle over.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitt picked sixth in cluttered Coastal

    Florida State was an obvious choice as a favorite in one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s divisions.
    In the other one, the pecking order was nowhere near that clear.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    July 21, 2014

AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide