Lafferty fans 12 as Seton LaSalle edges Laurel in PIAA quarterfinals

Thursday, June 6, 2019 | 7:00 PM

Seton LaSalle freshman Drew Lafferty is not a big strikeout pitcher. Entering the Rebels’ PIAA quarterfinal game against Laurel, he had 44 punch outs in just over 42 innings pitched.

But on Thursday, the Kentucky recruit had his knockout pitch going with a capital K.

Lafferty pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts as Seton LaSalle edged Laurel, 3-2.

The Rebels (21-2) advance to the Class 2A state semifinals Monday against Serra Catholic. It is the second time in school history Seton has advanced to the PIAA Final Four and first time since 2007.

“I felt good in the warmups and on the mound,” Lafferty said. “There was definitely a little smack talking that got me fired up a little bit and throwing a little harder.”

Lafferty struck out the side in the first inning and had seven strikeouts through the first three innings.

“He was amped up for the game,” second year Seton LaSalle coach Mike Wagner said. “He was lights out today. I thought he pitched phenomenal. He was ahead in counts and didn’t walk anybody until that last inning.”

That leadoff walk of Robert Herr did not hurt as the Rebels freshman struck out Kobe DeRosa and got Landin Esposito to line into a game-ending 3-6 double play.

Both teams took advantage of opponent mistakes to supply the offense on a day when Lafferty for Seton LaSalle and both Esposito and Herr for Laurel (13-8) were outstanding on the mound.

In the top of the first, Nick Vari reached on an error, was sacrificed to second and scored on a bang-bang play at the plate following an RBI single by Lafferty.

Laurel tied the game in the third inning when DeRose reached third on a double and an error and scored when Esposito’s bunt single down the third-base line was thrown away by the catcher.

Another Laurel defensive miscue led to two runs in the fourth inning. Both Jacob Verner and Vari walked with two outs, and after Cam Colwell reached on a Spartans error that loaded the bases, Lafferty continued his monster game with a two-run single to left.

“Just a little single there,” said Lafferty, as to what he was thinking about coming to the plate with the bases loaded. “Just a single would score two runs because I knew we had speed at second base.”

The Spartans made it interesting in the sixth inning when Michael Pasquarello reached on a strikeout and wild pitch and scored on an RBI double by Tanner Stewart.

“This is the fourth one-run game we’ve won in the playoffs,” Wagner said. “Good teams find ways to win.”

Check out an archived broadcast of this game on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

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