Boehme hits for cycle as Seton LaSalle takes down Serra Catholic in WPIAL Class 2A final
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 6:16 PM
Seton LaSalle first baseman Dan Boehme knew he had a good day, but he was unaware it was a historic one until he got back into the dugout after crushing a two-run homer over the left field fence.
That’s when his teammates broke the news to him.
“They started telling me that I hit for the cycle,” Boehme said. “It was an awesome feeling.”
Boehme’s seventh inning homer capped off a 5 for 5 day and a cycle that led the Rebels to their first WPIAL baseball championship in 24 years.
The No. 4 Rebels rolled to an 11-2 victory over No. 2 Serra Catholic in the Class 2A final Wednesday at Wild Things Park.
Boehme, a junior, singled in the first, tripled in the third and fifth, doubled in the sixth and homered in the seventh. He had four RBIs and scored four runs.
Seton LaSalle coach Mike Wagner, who was a player on the 1995 team that won the Rebels’ last WPIAL title, also was unaware Boehme hit for the cycle. He did know his junior first baseman was locked in.
“He was just on fire today,” Wagner said. “In that last at-bat he got a 3-0 pitch they called a strike, and I was thinking that’s good, because I wanted him to swing anyway. Then he got a 3-1 fastball and drove it over the fence.”
Top to bottom Seton LaSalle’s lineup proved to be tough. As a team, the Rebels struck out only once and drew seven walks.
“We don’t strike out a lot,” Wagner said. “That’s a tremendous improvement over last year. I think we struck out 101 times last year, and this year it was less than 30. We really focused on putting balls in play and putting pressure on the defense.”
Serra Catholic (20-3) and Seton LaSalle (19-2) split during Section 3 play in the regular season.
After a 51-minute lightning delay, the Rebels struck for four runs in the third inning. Drew Lafferty had an RBI double. Boehme followed with a triple to the right-center gap, and Trevor O’Donnell drove him in with a single. The Rebels eventually chased Serra Catholic starter Alex Glumac, who went 2 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits.
“They just hit better than our pitchers today, bottom line,” Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. “We didn’t kick the ball around, we didn’t make any errors, but we couldn’t stop their hitters.”
Boehme hadn’t had a triple all season, but added his second one to lead off the fifth and then scored on a wild pitch. He joked that he stretched more before the game so he could run faster, but credited the spacious outfield with helping him leg out triples.
“This is a turf field, so we knew the ball was going to roll. If it hit the gap it was going to be a straight triple,” Boehme said. “We talked about it all week. If you hit a gap, you’re going three.”
Lafferty, a freshman and a Kentucky commit, dealt with a cramp in his right leg early on and was stretched by a trainer on the field in the third, but persevered to throw a complete-game three-hitter. He had three strikeouts.
“When he cramps, sometimes it gets really bad, but he was able to get through it,” Wagner said. “He was fantastic. He battled. We got some water in him, and he got better pretty quick.”
Dom Puzzanchera doubled for Serra Catholic, which was denied its fourth WPIAL title. Mark Black, a St. John’s recruit and one of the top hitters in the WPIAL, was intentionally walked three times and grounded out in his last at-bat.
Seton LaSalle faces the District 10 runner up, and the Eagles will play District 9 champion Moniteau in the first round of the PIAA playoffs Monday.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer