Beaver offense again shines in PIAA quarterfinal win over New Castle

Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 8:13 PM

The Beaver Bobcats couldn’t have picked a better time to put their offense in high gear.

Beaver scored in double digits for the third consecutive game Thursday afternoon with a 10-2 victory over New Castle in a PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal baseball game at Butler’s Pullman Park.

Brady Hansen, the No. 9 hitter in the Bobcats batting order, had two triples and a single while brother Zach Hansen drove in three runs. Senior pitcher Jack Yanssens yielded two unearned runs over six innings to pick up the win.

Hansen’s first triple in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie as Beaver tallied eight runs over the final three innings.

The Bobcats (16-7) will face East Pennsboro of Enola, near Harrisburg, in the state semifinals Monday at a site and time to be determined.

“It’s good to see,” Beaver coach Noah Medich said of his offense. “We kind of struggled early, couldn’t find a way to get the runners in. But these guys keep coming back, they fight through adversity. It’s an impressive group of kids.”

Beaver defeated Blackhawk, 13-2, in the WPIAL final, then scored 13 again in Monday’s PIAA opener against Punxsutawney.

New Castle, coming off the first PIAA tournament victory in school history Monday, finished at 12-11.

The game had everything from a coach’s ejection, three balks and the teams leaving the bases loaded a combined three times.

After New Castle took a 2-0 lead when an error by Brady Hansen let in two runs, Beaver had a runner on third in the third inning with a run in.

Yanssens was attempting to steal home. He was out, but the umpires ruled that Red Hurricanes pitcher Vince Soukovich rushed his delivery and a balk was called to tie the game.

A livid New Castle coach Bill Cook ran out of the dugout and took the mound demonstrating what he thought was Soukovich’s delivery and was ejected.

Cook will have to sit out New Castle’s first game in 2020, as per PIAA guidelines.

Soukovich then struck out two batters after loading the bases with a walk to keep the scored knotted at 2-all.

“He showed poise and got us out of a jam,” said acting coach Erik Montozzi. “The guys played behind him and our senior leader, catcher Brayden Cartwright, he commanded what we needed there with all that hecticness.”

Montozzi then brought in Matt Senchak to pitch after the first two Beaver batters in the fourth singled. Harrison Pontoli’s single loaded the bases with none out, but Senchak got out of the jam, thanks to Nic Morell’s sensational, shoestring catch in center field to end the threat.

Mason Rose started the decisive fifth with a double and came around to score on Brady Hansen’s first triple to recover from his early miscue.

“I just had to stay confident in myself and my teammates and our pitcher Jack,” Brady Hansen said.

“Brady had a great game,” Medich said. “He’s a nine hitter but a special nine hitter. You get a fastball across the plate, and he’s going to find a gap.”

Zach Hansen’s single in the sixth brought in two more runs, and the Bobcats iced the contest with a four-run seventh.

The Red Hurricanes entered the playoffs with just an 8-9 record, but made the most of their opportunity.

“They came together and jelled,” Montozzi said. “We banged on all cylinders when we needed to keep us in games.”

“That’s a gritty town they have up there and a gritty team,” Medich said of New Castle.

No matter what the facility is called, Beaver has taken a liking to Pullman Park. The Bobcats have won three games there this season and four games in 2014 en route to an appearance in the PIAA finals.

The place was known as Kelly Automotive Park until the naming rights ran out. The estate of late Butler County businesswoman Michelle Krill bought the naming rights.

After the Beaver-New Castle game, a ceremony was held rechristening the field Michelle Krill Memorial Field at Historic Pullman Park.

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