Over the past four seasons in the region’s high school baseball scene, one of the constants has been that Bishop McCort will be among the 16 teams competing for a PIAA Class A championship.
That’s not to say that the Crimson Crushers’ identity is simply the same from year to year.
In the case of the 11 seniors on Bishop McCort’s squad, the road doesn’t end with just reaching the state tournament especially not when a majority of those seniors were contributors on 2012’s state title team ... And a state quarterfinalist last year.
“A lot of the guys that we’re starting this year were big contributors on that team two years ago,” Bishop McCort coach Chris Pfeil said. “Last year we missed an opportunity and lost in the quarterfinals. There was a commitment made that we were going to get back this year and try to finish the deal.”
The Crimson Crushers’ first obstacle on that path is District 10 champion Eisenhower (9-7) this afternoon at Hollidaysburg Area High School.
First pitch between the Knights and the Crimson Crushers (16-7) is slated for 4 p.m.
The key cog in Eisenhower’s postseason run is sophomore Casey Vincent, who carries a 7-0 record and a pair of no-hitters this season. Vincent and shortstop Logan Dellardo provide the punch in the Knights’ lineup.
Pfeil said that Vincent can attack hitters with a fastball that sits in the 80s, a breaking ball that he can throw for strikes along with a changeup.
“When you can control those pitches, you become very tough to hit,” Pfeil said of the Eisenhower hurler.
Like Bishop McCort, Eisenhower sees a number of larger schools on its schedule. The Knights topped Rocky Grove and Union City on their way to District 10 laurels.
Bishop McCort won its third straight District 6-A crown on Wednesday with a 4-1 win over Juniata Valley.
In that Crimson Crushers win over the Green Hornets, pitcher Brad Coleman earned his third win of the postseason with five strikeouts and a run allowed on six hits.
Senior designated hitter Dan Formica gave Bishop McCort its offensive burst in the district championship game, collecting a pair of two-RBI singles to buoy the district’s top seed.
Pfeil noted that Coleman will get the ball to start against the Knights.
“He’s been our go-to guy thus far,” Pfeil said.
The Crimson Crushers seniors boast an overall record of 80-18 during their time in the Bishop McCort program.
“We’ve had a lot of obstacles,” Pfeil said. “Injuries, illness, some guys have grown up over the last month or two. We’re starting to jell, which is exciting. Each team takes on its own identity, the story of this year’s team is 11 seniors trying to go out on top.”
Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.