Slow start dooms Eden Christian baseball in 1st PIAA finals appearance
Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 3:12 PM
UNIVERSITY PARK — As a first-time state finalist, Eden Christian will remember Thursday’s game for years to come, even if they’d like to forget the first two innings.
Eden Christian committed three early errors, walked in a couple of runs and saw Halifax score eight times in those first two innings. The Warriors eventually settled in, but those early miscues were too much to overcome in a 9-1 loss in the PIAA Class A championship at Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Halifax led 3-1 after one inning and 8-1 after two.
“We had two bad innings,” Eden coach Steve Good said.
The Warriors saw a fly ball drop between two players in shallow right field. An attempt to throw out a base stealer ended up in the outfield. A bouncing ball in the infield led to another error.
Once those errors were combined with five hits and three walks, Halifax had eight runs. At that point, it’s like trying to climb an insurmountable hill, senior Luke Vittone said.
“We tried to keep battling,” Vittone said. “I was proud of us. We were able to do that, but it didn’t go our way.”
As the third-place team from the WPIAL, Eden Christian (20-6) had qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in the team’s short history. The Warriors then upset champions from Districts 9, 10 and 5, putting together a meaningful run for a small school that didn’t have a baseball team less than a decade ago.
“It meant everything,” Good said, “to realize we just started this program eight years ago, and to be here already.”
Good has coached the team since 2015 and was athletic director when the program first launched a few years earlier.
Eden might be back in the state finals sometime soon, he said, but if so, they’ll have a different coach. Good told his players after the game that he’s resigning to spend time with family.
“It’s time for me to be at home,” he said.
The state title was the first for Halifax (15-11), the District 3 runner-up.
In the first inning, Halifax used three hits and two errors to score three times against Eden starter Christian Cropper. Jacob Fisher relieved Cropper to start the second, but the pitching change didn’t fix Eden’s early woes.
The first five Halifax batters reached base and scored in the second with two singles, three walks and another Eden fielding error. Both teams finished with four errors, but Eden’s came an inopportune times.
“Control was a little off by both guys, but we made three errors in the first two innings,” Good said. “I don’t know. I don’t want to say we weren’t ready, because I think we were ready.”
Cropper allowed three runs on three hits. Fisher was charged with six runs on four hits and three walks. Eden reliever Jared Bees pitched the final three inning and held Halifax scoreless.
Halifax starter Eli Tyrell scattered seven hits and one walk over six innings, allowing one run and striking out four for the win.
Eden’s lone run came on a first-inning sacrifice fly by David Kelly, scoring Brian Feldman.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: Eden Christian
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