Franklin Regional baseball advances with win over Cathedral Prep

Monday, June 3, 2019 | 10:10 PM

It often has been said good things come to those who wait, and Franklin Regional baseball proved that in a couple of ways Monday.

The Panthers had to wait 18 years to get back to the state playoffs, and in their return, patience at the plate was key to making a fond memory.

Franklin Regional drew a dozen walks and got clutch hits en route to earning a 13-4 win over District 10 champion Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Class 5A first round at Neshannock.

The Panthers (19-2) advanced to play District 3’s Lampeter-Strasburg in the quarterfinals Thursday at a site and time to be announced.

In its first PIAA appearance since 2001, Franklin Regional sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning and nine in the third and fifth. Every Panthers batter reached base at least twice, and Michael Klingensmith, Andrew Muraco and Jake Williams were on base four times.

“The guys did a great job at the plate today being disciplined and knowing what they needed to do, approach-wise,” Franklin Regional coach Bobby Sadler said. “The strike zone was a bit tight. We recognized that and used it to our advantage. We knew there were borderline pitches we could take, especially early in at-bats. We didn’t fall behind much, and we were able to attack pitches that we wanted to attack.”

After Cathedral Prep (14-9) took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Jimmy Colvin, Franklin Regional started its walk party in the second.

Louie Kegerreis led off with a single, and Bryce Harper and Matt Fitzmaurice walked to load the bases. Zach Seaman followed with a two-run single. Shane Sciorilli walked, and Klingensmith reached on a fielder’s choice before back-to-back two-out RBI singles from Jake Williams and Tommy Kegerreis capped a five-run inning.

“That five-spot was a big one,” Muraco said. “We bounced back and kept the energy up, and it ended how it should have.

“We just had to keep getting on and putting the pressure on them. We hit balls hard and forced them to make plays.”

The Ramblers responded with three runs in the bottom half, aided by a pair of two-out errors by the Panthers, to cut the lead to 5-4, but Franklin Regional went right back to work at the plate in the third.

The Panthers sent nine more to the plate, scoring four runs, and chased Cathedral Prep starter Colin Kelly, who had a 1.35 ERA over 2013 innings entering Monday.

The inning featured two walks and four hits including a two-out, two-run double by Klingensmith, who drilled a hanging curveball with two strikes to right field. Kegerreis followed with an RBI single that made it 9-4.

Klingensmith joked his grandfather always yells, “Be patient” to him every time he is at the plate and was happy to see everyone take that advice Monday.

“They put up one run early, and we did a really good job of bouncing back,” Klingensmith said. “We saw the ball well and hit well. It was a great team effort, and hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”

Franklin Regional added a run in the fourth and then put the game on ice in the fifth by scoring three more runs while drawing four walks. Louie Kegerreis lined a hard single to right field that plated two runs in the inning.

Klingensmith pitched 5-plus innings and allowed one earned run. He struck out six and walked two, navigating around the tight strike zone. Connor Helm pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings.

“Michael is going to grind out there, and he’s going to pitch to the zone the umpire is giving us,” Sadler said. “We’re not going to go continuously off the plate or low in the zone if they aren’t giving it. Those are wasted pitches. I’m sure Prep’s coach was telling their guys the same thing. Michael did a great job, and (catcher) Bryce (Harper) did an excellent job calling the game today.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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