Hempfield East comes up short in title game
Hempfield East’s attempt to become the first Westmoreland County American Legion baseball team since Lower Burrell in 1965 to win a state championship came up short Wednesday.
Despite outhitting Swoyersville for second consecutive game, Hempfield East committed two costly errors in the fourth, resulting in a 2-1 loss at Showers Field in DuBois. Swoyersville defeated Hempfield East, 4-1, on Monday.
In the two contests, Hempfield East outhit Swoyersville, 15-4. But Swoyersville was able to get the key hit when needed.
Swoyersville has won three state titles since 2014. Both teams advance to the Great Lakes Tournament beginning Aug. 7 in Charleston, Ill.
Hempfield East (26-6) will face Lyon County (Ky.), and Swoyersville will face Danville (Ill.).
“We had our opportunities and just didn’t get that clutch hit,” Hempfield East coach Scott Smith said. “We had too many opportunities wasted. The team that makes the fewest mistakes usually wins. They didn’t make any mistakes.”
Swoyersville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a double by Stephan Banas and a triple by Draig Cooley-Ruff.
Two errors in the fourth inning pushed the Swoyersville lead to 2-0.
Hempfield East finally got to winning pitcher Patrick Adamski, the tournament MVP, when Jack McBride singled home Noah Sweeney in the sixth.
Sweeney was named the tournament’s top hitter. He also had a double and single in the loss. Losing pitcher Andrew Rosenberg also had two hits.
Hempfield East got a lead-off walk to Dajauhn Hertzog in the seventh, but relief pitcher Tyler O’Kane left him stranded.
“When Dajauhn got on in the seventh inning, we felt we had something going,” Smith said.
Hunter Eperesi received the tournament’s sportsmanship award.
Hempfield East gets a week off to prepare for its next tournament.
“The players are excited and looking forward to the next tournament,” Smith said. “There is a bigger prize still out there.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .