California Area's win spurs wasted trip for Hartman
California Area baseball coach Don Hartman doesn't mind making a long trip this time of the year – even if it is a fruitless one.
Take, for example, after the Trojans' 6-3 win over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals at Fox Chapel Friday.
Hartman got in his car with Trojan assistant Nick Damico and drove 90 minutes to Punxsutawney to watch the game between Johnsonburg and Bishop McCort to see who the Trojans (20-5) would play in Monday's 5 p.m. semifinal game at Homer City.
But when he was a few miles from the field, he received texts saying that the game was postponed because of rain, so he turned around.
However, in reality, Johnsonburg and Bishop McCort played a game that was a classic with Johnsonburg winning 7-6 in 11 innings.
“That's OK,” Hartman said. “I'm glad to make any trip right now because it means we are still playing.”
Hartman has at least one more trip left in the 2013 season as a result of the win over OLSH, which also avenged a 2-1 loss to the Chargers (20-4) in the WPIAL semifinals.
The Trojans started fast against OLSH starting pitcher Tim Mulvey, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring three runs on five hits. Michael Luketich, Ronnie Baron and Louden Conte all stroked RBI singles.
In the second, Cal chased Mulvey from the mound when Jake Columbus singled and Aaron Previsky, who had four hits, smoked a rocket to center for an RBI triple to make it 4-0.
At that point, OLSH ace Preston Falascino came on to pitch in relief.
“I was so happy to see us get four runs quick because we only scored two runs off Preston in 12 innings now,” said Hartman of the OLSH star. “He's an amazing talent.”
California pitcher Brian Fisher was cruising along with a two-hitter going into the fourth inning when the Chargers got back into the game with three runs. Nick Kocent hit an RBI single and then with two outs, Bill Mulcahey smacked a two-run double to make it 4-3.
That was Fisher's lone real jam of the day.
“He was just amazing out there,” Hartman said of Fisher. “I have so much confidence in him and so do his teammates. They believe in him. He's a senior. He's a leader.”
The Trojans got one run back in the top of the fifth as Conte led off with a double and then scored on Fisher's one-out RBI single to right field.
Cal added another run in the seventh without getting a hit as Falascino walked four batters.
On the day, the Trojans had 12 hits. Joining Previsky with multiple hits for Cal were Fisher and Louden with two each.
Falascino and Mulcahey each had two hits for OLSH.
And now the Trojans will make another trek, this time to Homer City, to play the Johnsonburg-Bishop McCort winner.
“We played there before,” Hartman said. “We lost to McCort in the first round of the states, 7-3, there last year and McCort went on to win the title.”
PLAYOFF TIDBITS: Of Previsky's four hits, three were infield singles ... California will be in the PIAA semifinals for only the second time in Hartman's 23-year career. They lost to Villa Maria, 4-3, in 2006 in the semis at Slippery Rock ... Cal turned two double plays in the first and third innings that thwarted potential OLSH rallies ... Dating back to April 23, Cal is 11-1.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.