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Central's Imler tosses perfect game to oust Ligonier Valley in District 6 1st round

| Friday, May 19, 2017, 7:12 p.m.

MARTINSBURG — This wasn't the way the first round of the District 6 Class 3A baseball playoffs were expected to go for Ligonier Valley.

Underdogs?

Yes.

Beaten 15-0 by No. 1 Central (Martinsburg) in four innings and the victims of a perfect game?

Well, not really.

But that's what happened Friday.

Central pounded out 13 hits, including a big game from Chase Smith, and jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first inning to cruise to an easy win. The Dragons chased freshman pitcher Ethan Boring in the first inning.

Smith went 4 for 4 with two triples, a game-ending home run and four RBIs.

Winning pitcher Jarret Imler improved to 8-0 by striking out five, and didn't allow a baserunner.

The closest Ligonier Valley was to breaking up the perfect game was in the fourth inning when shortstop Sully Schueltz hit a grounder in the hole at short but was ruled out on a close play at first.

“I'd say they were the best hitting team we've faced all season,” Ligonier Valley coach John Jones said. “They were disciplined and had a good approach at the plate.

“Ethan will have a lot of positive games ahead of him. It just wasn't his day. Even Hall of Famers have games like this.”

Central sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning. Smith's two-run triple and Jacob Mushler's two-run hit highlighted the inning.

Senior Garrett Custer relieved Boring with one out in the first. He struck out Alex Hoenstine and Josh McKnight to end the inning.

Central tacked on two more runs in the third inning and finished off Ligonier Valley with four runs in the fourth.

“Any time you make the playoffs, it's a positive,” Jones said. “A lot of these players never experienced a playoff game, now they have. They'll be better prepared the next time.”

Ligonier Valley returns the bulk of its team. It will graduate four seniors.

“We'll get back in the gym next fall and winter,” Jones said. “We played a lot of sophomores and freshmen, so they know what to expect now. We have a lot of talented players on the bench ready to get their chances.”

Custer struck out three batters and walked four for Ligonier Valley, which finished the season 12-8.

Central (19-2) advanced to play No. 4 Philipsburg-Osceola (12-6) — a 7-0 winner over West Shamokin — at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Central.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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