Montour shuts out Cathedral Prep, earns semifinal rematch against New Castle
Thursday, June 10, 2021 | 8:22 PM
Before Montour pitcher Dylan Mathiesen took the mound for the 12th time this season, his coaches wondered if the right-hander might be tiring a little. His previous outing came in the WPIAL finals, and Mathiesen’s stuff that day maybe wasn’t his sharpest.
But here in the PIAA playoffs, two wins away from the state finals, the junior proved he’s not done yet.
And clearly, neither were his teammates.
Mathiesen struck out a season-high 11 batters, and catcher Matt Luchovick drove in three runs as Montour defeated Erie Cathedral Prep, 5-0, in a PIAA Class 4A quarterfinal Thursday at Slippery Rock. Eight days removed from a painful championship loss, the Spartans seem to have found their second wind.
“We were very loud in the dugout today,” said Mathiesen, who pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings while scattering three hits and three walks. “We were getting a groove on. It felt great to win that game.”
With Mathiesen nearing the 105-pitch limit, junior Mason Sike relieved him in the sixth inning and struck out the final four Cathedral Prep batters. The winning combination of strong pitching, timely hitting and error-free defense has Montour (17-6) in the state semifinals for the first time.
The Spartans used five hits and six walks to score five runs. They scored twice in the first inning and added one run apiece in the third, fourth and sixth.
Leading the attack was Luchovick, who hit a two-run double in the first and added an RBI double in the third. Nick Walker scored twice and drove in Montour’s fourth and fifth runs.
“This might have been our most complete game of the year,” Montour coach Bob Janeda said. “We made all the plays, Mathiesen again was lights out … and this might have been the best we’ve swung it in the playoffs.”
In a perfectly timed twist, next up for Montour is a rematch with WPIAL champion New Castle. A site and time for Monday’s PIAA semifinal hasn’t been announced.
Montour defeated section foe New Castle twice in the regular season but lost to the Red Hurricanes in the WPIAL finals. Immediately after that June 2 loss at Wild Things Park, Janeda gathered his players in the outfield and offered them two options.
“At this point you could check out and start enjoying summer break and go to your travel teams,” Janeda said he told them, “or we can go somewhere a Montour team has never went, and that’s deep into the state playoffs.”
Montour started its state tournament by defeating District 9 champion Clearfield, 6-1, on Tuesday, and then jumped on District 10 champion Cathedral Prep.
In the first inning, Walker and Gannon Kadlecik drew consecutive one-out walks, and Luchovick followed with a two-run double down the third-base line. In the third, Walker drew a leadoff walk, Kadlecik singled and Luchovick doubled to left-center, scoring Walker.
Cathedral Prep starter Jack Malec allowed three three hits, four walks and three runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Luchovick, Montour’s cleanup hitter, leads the team with 36 RBIs.
“He just keeps doing it,” Janeda said. “He’s just a solid, solid baseball player. …Call it ice in your veins, he comes up with guys in scoring position and he gets good swings.”
That run support was plenty for Mathiesen, who didn’t let a runner reach third base. In the second and third innings, all six Cathedral Prep outs were Mathiesen strikeouts.
“We tried to hunt fastballs early and weren’t effective at it,” Prep coach Josh Constable said. “That was our approach. Sometimes it’s easy to say, ‘We’ve got to do better,’ but there’s a guy 60 feet, six inches out there trying to beat you as well. Today, he was better.”
Mathiesen has 74 strikeouts in 48 innings, and lowered his ERA to 1.60.
“Everything was working for me,” he said. “The off-speed. The fastball. I was able to shut hitters down.”
Said Luchovick, his catcher: “He found a groove. I’ve been catching him all year. He fell right back into it. He didn’t miss a spot all day.”
Mathiesen struck out 10 batters in a game twice this season, his previous season high. One of those 10-strikeout performances was an April 13 no-hitter against New Castle.
Yet, in the WPIAL finals, he struck out only three.
“My coaches and I thought maybe it’s to the point — he’s thrown a lot of innings — is he getting tired?” Janeda said. “Tonight was the Dylan that beat New Castle at Burkett Park back in April and threw a no-hitter.
“That’s the Dylan I saw tonight.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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