Ligonier Valley baseball takes next step with quarterfinal victory
By Dave Mackall
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 9:20 p.m.
There wasn't much time for the Ligonier Valley baseball team to celebrate its 6-3 victory over visiting Penn Cambria on Friday in the District 6-AA playoffs.
Top-seeded Philipsburg-Osceola awaits the Rams on Monday in the semifinals.
“We got out of the first round last year, and the season ended in the quarterfinals,” second-year Ligonier Valley coach John Jones said. “This year, with a first-round bye, we made it a step farther. We made it to semis, and that's an accomplishment for this team.”
Jones understandably doesn't want it to end here.
“A lot of these guys are seniors, and they played their last game at home today,” he said. “They'll be missed.”
Not so fast, though. They're still playing.
“We think we have a team that can contend,” Jones said. “We've got an aggressive bunch.”
Especially at the plate, where the Rams pounded out nine hits and struck out just once. Matt Ryan drove in a pair of runs, including one during a five-run uprising in the third inning, and reliever Billy Elliott pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth to lead Ligonier Valley (16-5), which won its fourth in a row.
The fourth-seeded Rams sent 10 men to the plate in the third, scoring five runs on six hits against Joel Myers, to take a 5-0 lead, before fifth-seeded Penn Cambria (11-7) scored three in the fifth against Joey Pushnigg, who struggled with his control.
The senior right-hander worked the first five innings, surviving four hit batters and three walks while striking out four before giving way to the lefty Elliott. Pushnigg did not allow a hit until the fourth.
“He struggled with his control the whole game,” Jones said. “He just wasn't hitting his spots. But we wanted to pitch them inside because we knew they could be aggressive and crowd the plate. That kind of got us in a little trouble with the hit batters.”
Elliott loaded the bases in the sixth but got out of it before settling down in the seventh for a quiet inning.
During Ligonier Valley's five-run third, five players drove in a run apiece, including doubles by Jake Nemeth and brothers Ryan and Adam Torrence. Run-scoring singles by Anthony Tutino and Ryan accounted for the other runs during the rally.
Ryan's RBI single in the sixth gave Ligonier Valley a 6-3 lead.
Jordan Fuller's two-run double sparked Penn Cambria's three-run fifth.
“We competed. Our pitcher competed,” Penn Cambria coach James Poldiak said. “But they found holes at the right times, and we didn't.”
Penn Cambria finished 11-7 after combining for just five victories in the previous two seasons.
“Hopefully, things are turned around,” Poldiak said.
Ligonier Valley plays Monday at Philipsburg-Osceola, which yesterday beat Blairsville, 11-1.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.