Ligonier Valley High School baseball team bows out of playoffs
The Ligonier Valley High School baseball team fell short of the District 6 championship, losing 2-0 to the visiting Mount Union Trojans in the semifinal round. In a game that was for the most part a defensive battle the Rams were only able to get two hits, both singles coming from Jake Nemeth.
Mount Union scored a run in the third and seventh innings, both with two outs. The Rams had a chance to possibly tie and win the game in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded, and Ryan Torrance up to bat. However, Torrance hit a line drive right to the Trojans pitcher, who caught the ball to end the game.
“I thought the hit was coming, I really did,” Manager John Jones commented. “We had the opportunity there. That was exactly where I wanted to be in the order. We had the situation I wanted. Maybe it would have been nice with one out, but how many balls did we hit right back at the pitcher? We hit them hard, but we hit them right at him, and that's a credit to him, he didn't give us anything we could get any air under and drive. Unfortunately today we just quite didn't get the job done.”
Billy Elliot pitched the entire game for Ligonier Valley, in which he struck out nine batters, walked four, and gave up six hits. Though Elliot had been used as a closer in the two previous playoff matchups, Jones felt he was the best option against a tough Mount Union team.
“Even though I have five pitchers that I trust, Billy is our ace,” Jones said. “The plan was, we were going to put Billy in to start the game and see how he did, and if we had to we would have brought somebody else in. I thought Billy threw a hell of a game.”
The Rams finished their season with a record of 17-4, which is the second most number of wins a team has earned in Ligonier Valley history. Jones said his graduating seniors leave with 56 wins in their four years, and during that time he noted that they have made baseball very popular for local residents to come and watch.
“They should be very proud of themselves. They made baseball an event here in Ligonier,” Jones stated. “We had a great fan base here today. I was really proud of the fans that came out and supported the team.”
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.