The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

May 16, 2014

Ligonier Valley swamps visiting Northern Cambria

LIGONIER — Heritage Conference champion Northern Cambria had more momentum, but Ligonier Valley had the higher seed heading into the District 6 Class AA baseball playoffs.

The eighth-seeded Rams got the upper-hand early on Friday and went on to a 7-1 victory over the visiting Colts, seeded ninth, in a first-round contest. Ligonier Valley will travel to Martinsburg to face top-seeded Central on Monday in the quarterfinals.

“Central is a heck-of-a team, they are undefeated and you don’t do that by fluke,” Ligonier Valley coach John Jones said. “We are going to have our hands full on Monday, but we are happy to be part of the show. We’ve got our ticket to the dance and we’re going to see if we can take the pretty girl home.”

The two squads had split during the regular season, both extra-inning games, but it was a game of missed chances for Northern Cambria (13-8).

“We had one game (against Ligonier) that we lost by one and then the game we played here that pretty much won us the conference,” Northern Cambria coach John Bonatesta said. “This is only my third year coaching and I think I’ve played them eight times already. There’s an advantage of knowing them, but then I think there’s a disadvantage of knowing maybe too much or overthinking. We just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities today.

“We had tons of opportunities,” Bonatesta said. “I think we left 15 guys on. We left bases loaded with no outs and first and second multiple times. I just told the team that you have to capitalize and have better approaches at the plate. You have to put the ball in play and advance the runners.”

Ligonier Valley (14-7) jumped on top with four runs in the second inning on a pair of hits and three Colts errors.

“Every time we played them we hit the ball well,” Jones said. “In the first inning, we went one-two-three, but we hit the ball hard three times. You probably couldn’t see it, but I was smiling because I knew it was going to be a good day. We were going to bash the ball and that’s what we did.”

The Colts broke into the scoring column in the top of the third.

Winning pitcher Andrew Schultz issued a walk to John Hornick, who came around the bases on back-to-back singles by Josh Prasko and Joe Frontino (2-for-4), pulling the Colts to 4-1.

Ligonier answered right back in the bottom of the third to extend its lead to 7-1.

Rick Ross (2-for-3, two runs) singled and went to third on a Jordan Jones double. Schultz singled home both runners. Al Vigliotti (2-for-2, two RBI) singled to move Schultz to third and he came home on a fielders choice.

Schultz (2-for-3, two RBI) gave way to Jordan Jones on the mound in the sixth, but the pattern continued for Northern Cambria. In the final two innings, the Colts got the first runners on with no outs, but were unable to get the timely hit to add runs.

“I think we only gave up (eight) hits,” Bonatesta said. “We had a plan of throwing Evan (Waldron) first, who was a little slower and get some ground balls and some fly balls, but we made some errors and then bring in Prasko, who has a little more velocity and throw them off balance. We just made some mistakes.”

 

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