Rain delay allows Cal, Johnsonburg to use aces
California will try again today to advance to the PIAA Class A baseball championship game after Monday's scheduled contest with Johnsonburg at Homer Center was postponed due to rain.
The Trojans (20-5) and District 9 runners-up Johnsonburg (17-3) are scheduled to play 6 p.m. today at Homer Center. The winner will play in the PIAA championship game Friday at Lubrano Park's Medlar Field at Penn State University.
The Rams are coming off an 11-inning, 7-6, win over defending PIAA champion Bishop McCort in the quarterfinals.
Johnsonburg defeated WPIAL champ Western Beaver, 5-0, in the first round of the state playoffs.
The delay means that both teams will be able to use their ace pitchers, if they choose.
Senior lefty Brian Fisher, who has pitched the last five playoff games to date, winning four, will take the mound once again for coach Don Hartman's Trojans.
“As long as Brian is healthy and feels good, we will use him,” Hartman said.
Johnsonburg will probably counter with hard-throwing junior Cole Peterson.
“He throws really, really hard and has a great curve ball,” Hartman said of Peterson. “But we have faced some hard throwers in the playoffs.”
Hartman said his team has had to deal with one day push-backs due to rain throughout the playoffs, so he is not concerned with the extra delay again.
“It's been like this all the way through for us,” he said. “Every time we are scheduled to play, it rains and we are pushed back. Maybe it's our karma. I'm just going with what the weather gods are giving us.”
Hartman said he prefers to pitch Fisher in the big game for several reasons. Not only is the lone starting senior in the Trojans' lineup his “ace,” but it also solidifies his infield.
“I'm not going to lie. I like having Brian out there (on the mound) because we don't have to shuffle around our infield and our infield has been playing well.”
The Trojans are trying to get to the state championship game for the first time since 1984.
Hartman, incidentally, was a sophomore on that California team that lost to Oley Valley, 5-4.
PLAYOFF TIDBITS: California takes some hot bats into today's game. The Trojans have scored 14 runs on 27 hits ... The PIAA Class A championship game at will be televised live on cable channel PCN Friday, starting at 10:30 a.m. PCN is televising all baseball and softball title games on a live or taped basis.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.