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PIAA BASEBALL: Mount Carmel defeats Mid Valley in 3A; Prep, Mountain View fall

THROOP — Drew Yagodzinskie got his lone mistake out of the way early.

After giving up a home run in the first inning, the Mount Carmel junior was practically untouchable the rest of the way in leading the District 4 champion Red Tornadoes past Mid Valley, 4-1, in a PIAA Class 3A first-round baseball game at Mid Valley High School on Monday.

Gavin Lasko’s two-run double capped a three-run rally in the top of the fifth inning against Spartans starter Nick Mills and advanced Mount Carmel (15-5) on to Thursday’s quarterfinals against District 3 runner-up Trinity, which won its first-round game in nine innings, 4-3, over District 11 champ Saucon Valley.

This is the Red Tornadoes’ first state playoff appearance after winning the program’s first district title.

“This is awesome, something you’re always going to remember,” Yagodzinskie said.

District 2 champion Mid Valley had its season end at 15-8.

“We knew coming in and heard lots of things about him being a bulldog,” Mid Valley coach Ryan Kropa said. “We knew he was going to be lights out, fill up the zone and attack.

“It felt good in the beginning, but things ended up the way they did.”

Mills gave Mid Valley a 1-0 lead with two outs in the top of the first inning. He crushed a 1-0 pitch from Yagodzinske to straightaway center field over the batter’s eye for a home run.

“He’s a really good pitcher. He threw really well,” Mills said. “It’s weird. Right before, I said to myself, ‘It’s fast, but it’s not unhittable.’ Next pitch, I hit the home run. It was unreal. Hitting that in a state playoff game and helping the guys. I really thought we were going to do something big.”

However, Yagodzinskie shook off the blast and retired the next 10 Mid Valley batters before issuing a leadoff walk to Zach Angelo in the bottom of the fifth.

He threw a complete-game, two-hitter with one walk and eight strikeouts on 95 pitches, 64 for strikes.

“That kid (Mills) is a great hitter and he got the best of me,” Yagodzinskie said. “I made a mistake. Hung a fastball and he hit it over the fence. Nothing else I could do. I just had to stay calm. I knew my team had my back.

“All my pitches were working. But my fastball especially. I was hitting my spots, trying to hit the outside corner. Got the strikes, that’s all I wanted.”

Meanwhile, Mount Carmel had runners on base against Mills in each of the first five innings.

In the top of the first, Lasko reached on a two-out error, but Mills got the next batter on a popout. In the second, Clarke Cartright drew a leadoff walk, but Mills retired the next three hitters. Then in the third, Brody Brinkash led off with a single, but was erased on a double play.

Finally, in the fourth, the Red Tornadoes broke through.

With one out, Yagodzinskie and Cartright drew back-to-back walks. Mills got Lucas Carpenter to hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out. But with runners at first and third, Carpenter broke for second on a stolen base attempt, then stopped short of the bag. The catcher’s throw went back to Mills, but then the pitcher tried to get Carpenter and wound up throwing the ball into center field for an error, enabling courtesy runner Hunter Boblick to score the tying run.

Mount Carmel then jumped ahead in the top of the fifth.

Jonas Bettleyon beat out an infield single to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a slow groundout by Brody Brinkash. Jonny Morgante then doubled inside the third-base line to score Bettleyon and make it 2-1.

After Morgante stole third base, Braydon Brinkash struck out but reached when the third strike was in the dirt and Mid Valley didn’t throw to first, not wanting to risk Morgante breaking for home.

Braydon Brinkash then stole second and Lasko followed with a two-run double into the left-field corner to extend the Red Tornadoes’ lead to 4-1.

Mills intentionally walked Yagodzinski, then retired the next two batters to escape the inning and end his day. He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts in five innings and 93 pitches.

“I definitely could have pitched better,” Mills said. “That was a good hitting team. One through five were really good. I gave them everything I’ve got and they hit it. That’s baseball. It’s going to happen.”

Cooper Lukasavage relieved and threw two scoreless innings for Mid Valley. But the Spartans could not do anything against Yagodzinskie.

Angelo walked leading off the fifth, but Yagodzinskie retired the next three batters, two by strikeout. Brett Yanoski had a two-out single in the sixth, but was erased trying to advance to second on a wild pitch. Mid Valley then went down in order in the seventh.

“He was mixing everything and outthinking guys,” Mills said. “He was locating and a little overpowering. He was really good, outhinking guys and throwing the right pitches when he needed to. He shut us down.”

Class 4A

Danville 6, Scranton Prep 1

At Espy, Garrett Hoffman tossed a complete-game five-hitter as Danville defeated Scranton Prep in the first round of the PIAA Class 4A playoffs at Central Columbia High School.

Hoffman did not walk a batter, struck out just one and threw 87 pitches with 59 strikes. His lone blemish was a solo home run by Roman Valvano in the top of the sixth inning.

Valvano and Zander Condeelis each had two hits for District 2 runnerup Scranton Prep (13-10).

Matt Acor had a double and two RBIs for District 4 champion Danville (18-4), which advances to Thursday's quarterfinals against District 12 champ Conwell-Egan, a 10-4 winner over District 11 champ Bethlehem Catholic in its first-round game.

Cole Duffy and Carter Raup also doubled for the Ironmen, who scored a run in the bottom of the first and two more in the second to grab a 3-0 lead.

Class 2A

Delone Catholic 4, Mountain View 3

At McSherrystown, Ethan Little's solo home run ignited a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning as Delone Catholic came back to beat Mountain View in the first round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs.

Riley Jagger hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth to give the District 2 champion Eagles a 2-0 lead.

Delone (15-7) got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Then in the sixth, Little homered leading off to tie the game. The District 3 champion Squires then added two more runs later in the inning on errors.

In the top of the seventh, Adam Polovitch's RBI single brought Mountain View within 4-3 with the tying and go-ahead runs on base. But Delone starter Aidan Wittmer got a strikeout to end the game.

Wittmer allowed three runs on eight hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in the complete-game win. He threw 83 pitches, 61 for strikes.

Tanner Holtsmaster was 3 for 3 for Mountain View (17-3).