BROCKWAY - The Élk County Catholic Crusaders advanced to the District 9 Class A championship game by defeating the Clarion Bobcats by a 2-0 score in a semifinal game played at Brockway Area High School.
The Crusaders will play the Coudersport Falcons, 6-4 winners over the Brockway Rovers, on Thursday at a site and time to be announced.
In Tuesday’s win, the Crusaders used the one-hit pitching of Jack Herzing through six innings. Herzing gave up one hit over six innings while walking six and striking out 12. Ben Daghir worked the seventh inning, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out two. For Clarion, Tanner Klein went the distance, giving up four hits, walking three and striking out five.
“That was a great high school baseball game,” said ECCHS coach Father Eric Vogt. “Jack (Herzing) did the job. He pitched well when he had to and Ben (Daghir) came in and closed the door.”
“Klein kept us off-balance the whole game. But we were able to take advantage of a couple of miscues to record the win,” Vogt added.
The Crusaders had four hits in the contest. Ricky Pearsall and Pat Brennen both doubled, while Luke Daghir and Brock McCullough both singled.
Clarion left two men on base in the top half of the first inning. The Crusaders went down in order in their half of the inning.
The Bobcats stranded one in the second inning, while the Crusaders left two runners on base.
Elk turned a double play to keep Clarion off the bases in the third inning. Pearsall led off with a bloop single to center. He turned it into a double as no one covered second base. Pearsall mvoed to third on an infield out and scored on a single by Luke Daghir, giving Elk the 1-0 lead.
Clarion left one man on base in the top of the fourth while the Crusaders went down in order.
The fifth inning found Clarion leaving a runner on base and Elk Catholic leaving two runners stranded.
The Bobcats left a man on base in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs in the home half of the sixth inning, Pat Brennen doubled to right center. He moved to third on a passed ball and was able to score on a passed ball, giving the Crusaders the 2-0 lead.
Clarion was able to get two runners on base with one out. A fly out and a strikeout ended the game with ECC on top 2-0.
The Crusaders are now 17-3 on the year and are assured a spot in the PIAA Class A Tournament, which begins June 6.
Cameron Kirkland (cf) 4-0-0, Anthony Beveridge (rf) 3-0-0, Dan Walters (ss) 2-0-0, Tanner Klein (p) 1-0-0, Antonio Troese (cr) 0-0-0, Brandon Heeter (1b) 3-0-1, Brandon Samulewski (3b) 3-0-0, Devon Everett (2b) 2-0-0, Tanner Corbett (lf) 0-0-0, Devin Harvey (dh) 1-0-0, Marcus Smerker (c) 3-0-1. Totals 22-0-2.
Ricky Pearsall (ss) 3-1-1, Eric Wehler (cf) 2-0-0, Luke Daghir (c) 3-0-1, Ben Daghir (2b) 2-0-0, Brock McCullough (lf) 3-0-1, Joe McLaughlin (lf) 0-0-0, Jake Cortina (1b) 3-0-0, Pat Brennen (3b) 2-1-1, Jack Herzing (p) 1-0-0, Zac Brody (dh) 2-0-0, Sam Schneider (2b) 0-0-0, Josh Feldbauer (rf) 2-0-0, Kyle Schneider (rf) 0-0-0. Totals 23-2-4.
Score by innings R
Clarion 000 000 0 0
ECCHS 001 001 x 2