Franklin Regional’s season ends with loss to Hollidaysburg in PIAA playoffs

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Monday, June 3, 2024 | 7:42 PM


HOLLIDAYSBURG — Missed opportunities by one team and timely hitting by the other was the difference in a PIAA Class 5A first-round baseball game Monday.

Franklin Regional, the WPIAL third-place team, didn’t take advantage of a couple of scoring opportunities and ended up dropping a 4-2 decision to District 6 champion Hollidaysburg to end its season.

Hollidaysburg got a couple of clutch hits — a two-out, 0-2 count single by Keagan Hockey in the fourth inning and a two-out, two-run double by catcher Cayden Gibbons — to win the school’s first PIAA playoff game in three tries.

The Golden Tigers will face Penn-Trafford, which defeated Lower Dauphin, 3-2, on Thursday at a site and time to be determined.

“They were able to scratch a couple more runs than we were, and that was the difference,” Franklin Regional coach Bob Saddler said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort. The players go out and know the approach, and we executed the approach but the balls didn’t fall. We had some loud outs, and they made the plays.”

Franklin Regional took a 1-0 lead in the third inning as Owen Sinclair doubled off the center-field fence, Cole Brinker reached on an error and Luke Williams walked an out later to load the bases.

But Hollidaysburg starter Carson Kensinger limited the damage. Sinclair scored on a fielder’s choice, with the RBI going to Blake Bertucci.

Hollidaysburg took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Kensinger singled with one out, Gibbons walked and Drew Banks was hit with an 0-2 pitch to load the bases.

Kensinger scored on a ground out, and Hockey singled on a 0-2 pitch to score courtesy runner Gavin Bell.

Franklin Regional tied the score 2-2 in the fifth inning when Sinclair singled and Brinker reached on an error. While Sinclair was able to score on Williams’ groundout, the Panthers left pitcher Max Bernadowski stranded at second.

“Their pitcher did a nice job keeping us off balance,” Saddler said. “He worked both sides of the plate. He mixed in a nice breaking ball. He executed his pitches and allowed him to go deep into the game. He had his ‘A’ game.”

Hollidaysburg then took advantage of a bad hop to score two runs in the fifth inning.

With one out, Jake Hileman reached on an infield single, and Ethan Karageanes hit a ground ball up the middle that looked like a possible double play ball before it took a bad hop on Williams.

After Bernadowski retired Kensinger, Gibbons lined a double to the right-center gap to score Hileman and Karageanes with the deciding runs.

“Carson has done this all season,” Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said. “He throws a lot of strikes and throws three pitches for strikes. He moves the ball around, and, for the most part, he kept them off balance.

“Cayden has been hitting well late in the season, and he got the big hit for us. It’s nice to get that first PIAA win under our belts.”

Both teams collected only five hits. Sinclair and Darren DeRiggi had two hits for the Panthers, and Hockey had two hits for the Golden Tigers.

Hollidaysburg 4, Franklin Regional 2

Franklin Regional 001-010-0—2-5-2

Hollidaysburg 000-220-x—4-5-2

WP: Carson Kensinger. LP: Max Bernadowski.

2B: FR: Owen Sinclair. H: Cayden Gibbons.

Records: FR 16-9; H 15-6.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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