Rams move past Richland
The Ligonier Valley High School baseball team fought its way past the quarterfinals of the District 6 Playoffs with a 5-3 victory over Richland High School. Coach John Jones said his team battled the entire game to make it through to the semifinals.
“They stuck together. Even when things looked a little choppy they never got down on themselves, every guy picked the other guy up. That's the way it works. It was truly a team effort. We got contributions from almost everybody on the roster. I can't say enough, they all played big roles today,” Jones said.
Ligonier opened up scoring in the second inning. Courtesy runner Thomas Sibel advanced two bases on passed balls to get into scoring position before being batted in on a Jake Nemeth single. Richland then tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning and took the lead 2-1 in the fourth.
Ligonier and Richland traded runs, including a run scored by Alex Tutino in the fifth off a Luke Ferlin single and a Richland run in the sixth. Ligonier went into the teams last at bat trailing 3-2 and scored three runs in a rally that included a double from Ryan Torrance that drove in Tutino and Ty Ferlin. Luke Ferlin was also walked in to score, which brought Ligonier from behind to take a 5-3 lead, which they held through the bottom of the seventh.
Zack Yeskey pitched into the fifth inning, throwing three strikeouts, giving up two runs on two errors. Billy Elliot relieved Yeskey in the fifth, striking out five batters and giving up one run on an error.
Jones attributed the victory to changing his and the team's mind-set. Jones said his expectations at the beginning of the season, which included winning the Heritage Conference and a desire to be top seed in the playoffs, distracted the team. However, Jones said the Rams have turned around and tenaciously fought to make it to the semifinal round.
“Once we simplified our approach, and went to let's just worry about winning this inning, we really turned a corner,” Jones stated. “I told the boys, if we win more innings than them, chances are we are going to win the game.”
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.