Latrobe’s furious rally comes up short in 1st round of PIAA baseball playoffs

Monday, June 5, 2023 | 9:47 PM

BELLEFONTE — Oh so close.

The Latrobe baseball team came a few feet short of pulling off a dramatic comeback in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs Monday at Governor’s Park.

The Wildcats’ rally came up one run short as they lost to District 6 champion Bellefonte, 10-9.

Latrobe, which trailed 10-2 through four innings, began its comeback with a four-run fifth inning and then put a big scare into Bellefonte with a three-run seventh.

Logan Bradish’s two-run homer made it 10-9, and Tony Massari followed with a shot to left field that Nathan Fisher caught with his back to the fence.

“We came up just short,” Latrobe coach Matt Basciano said. “A couple more feet, Tony ties the score. I’m so proud of how this team never quit. They had a lot of heart and fight this season and in this game.”

Bellefonte took advantage of seven walks and three errors to erase Latrobe’s early 2-0 lead. The Wildcats got a two-run single from Jacob Cramer in the top of the first inning.

The Red Raiders (17-5) responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Duke commit Trevor Johnson hit the first pitch he saw from Bradish over the right-center field fence, and an error and a walk allowed winning pitcher Dom Capperella to launch a three-run home run. It was Johnson’s 11th homer of the season and Capperella’s second. Capperella and Braedyn Kormanic had two hits each.

Bellefonte added two more runs in the second inning without the aid of a hit to make it 6-2.

Then they tacked on four more runs off Riley Smith in the fourth inning. Capperella’s two-run single highlighted the inning. Capperella had five RBIs.

“They’re a good hitting team and a good team overall,” Basciano said. “Once they got the big lead I told the team to keep chipping away at them, and we did.”

Latrobe (17-8) chased Capperella in the fifth inning by scoring four times, with three runs scoring on Cramer’s bases-loaded double. Cramer finished with five RBIs.

“No lead is safe, especially in the playoffs,” Bellefonte coach Jon Clark said. “Trevor was able to kick-start our offense. He’s our table setter. When he gets on base, he usually scores.”

After Johnson’s home run, Latrobe decided to walk him his next three at-bats. He scored two times, giving him 50 runs for the season.

“Dom did his job against a good-hitting Latrobe team,” Clark said. “He got us into the fifth inning, and that’s what we were hoping for. We scouted Latrobe a few times and knew this lead wasn’t safe.”

In the seventh inning, Dante Basciano walked and scored on Erick Batista’s double, his third hit of the game. An out later, Bradish hit a two-run home run. After Massari flied out to deep left, Cramer and Eli Boring drew walks.

But relief pitcher Peyton Vancas got Tyler Fazekas to ground out to end the game.

Bradish and Cramer had two hits each.

“The only lead I feel good about is when we have it on the final out of the game,” Clark said. “I was nervous when that kid connected in the final inning. I’m glad we caught it.”

Bellefonte will now face Indiana, which defeated District 3 champ East Pennsboro, 2-1, in Thursday’s quarterfinals at a site and time to be determined.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .


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