Beaver’s bats stay hot in PIAA semifinal win over East Pennsboro
By: Phil Cmor
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 9:43 PM
CRESSON — The Beaver baseball team’s hit parade has one more stop: State College.
The Bobcats brought out the bats once again Tuesday, pounding out 10 hits and scoring in each of the first four innings to punch their ticket into the PIAA Class 4A championship game with a 7-5 victory over District 3 power East Pennsboro on Tuesday afternoon at Mt. Aloysius’ Calandra-Smtih Field.
Beaver (17-7) will take on Selinsgrove in the title game at Medlar Field on Friday. The Bobcats have scored 65 runs in seven WPIAL and PIAA playoff games this postseason, scoring at least 10 four times.
“We have a team full of hitters,” said senior second baseman Jack Yanssens. “We’ve stressed it all through our high school careers, and now we’re finally putting it all together all at the same time.”
Yanssens collected three hits and scored a pair of runs, and seven other Bobcats hits safely. Leadoff hitter Harrison Pontoli scored twice, and three and four hitters Vinny Mastrangelo and Alec Berg registered two RBIs apiece.
Beaver had two runs four batters into the game against an East Pennsboro team sporting a 1.27 ERA coming in. The Bobcats led 5-0 after two innings and 7-0 after four against sophomore right-hander Michael Morales, who has committed to Vanderbilt.
“We’re playing out best baseball right now. It’s really competitive (among all of us),” Pontoli said.
Senior right-hander Dom Petrella battled his command in the first couple of innings, stranding four East Pennsboro baserunners over the first two frames. He said, however, he was able to relax because he was confident giving up a run or two wouldn’t cost him the game.
“We score a lot of runs, and we have the last few games. When we get up early, it’s a lot easier to pitch. You can attack them or pitch around them a little bit. It’s a whole lot easier pitching with the lead,” Petrella said.
East Pennsboro (24-3) finally got to Petrella in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs and getting the tying run to first before reliever Mason Rose got a groundout to end the game.
“When you start falling back a run, another run, another run, it gets hard mentally (to come back),” East Pennsboro coach Tyler Comp said. Beaver’s 14 seniors hadn’t even played in a WPIAL playoff game before this season. Now, the Bobcats are a win from a state championship.
“It seems like, once they’ve gotten in the playoffs, they’re laser-focused, like they’ve been there,” Beaver coach Noah Medich said.
“It’s kind of surreal. It hasn’t set in yet,” said Berg, who had a two-run single in the first inning. “Everything’s happened so fast, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun playing baseball right now.”