WRIGHT TWP. — Crestwood players enthusiastically cleaned up their home field after punching their ticket to the district finals. A few walked past coach Mark Modrovsky, depositing the model turkey that sat perched on the edge of the dugout fence in his arms.
“Obviously, they’re a little loose,” Modrovsky deadpanned.
And it’s translating over to the diamond.
The Comets may actually be the calmest team in the district right now after pulling out yet another tight contest on Wednesday, holding off Coughlin 3-1 in the District 2 Class 3A semifinals to advance to Friday’s championship game.
Crestwood will take on the winner of today’s Dallas-Abington Heights game for a spot in the PIAA tournament, with the site and time to be determined today.
In the regular season, five of the Comets’ 15 league games were decided by one run. They came out on the wrong end of most of them, going 1-4 in those contests. As a result, they came into districts as the No. 8 seed with an 8-7 record.
But the team is now clearly used to the pressure of tight games, especially after beating top-seeded Pittston Area 2-1 in the quarterfinals before taking down the upstart 13th-seeded Crusaders on Wednesday.
“We stayed on our kids,” Modrovsky said of keeping his team level-headed after each tough loss. “We’d be saying, ‘Guys – if you lose a one-run game, that means you played a good game.’
“It’s hard for kids to believe in that, but here we are in tight games. Our league is tight, our league is tough and I think that prepares people.”
Clearly it’s done just that.
Starting pitcher Derik Ermish came through with six solid innings, scattering six hits, walking one and allowing just an RBI single to Jordan Ramirez in the top of the first. Matt Wotherspoon pitched a quick seventh inning to earn the save.
Ermish also drove in two runs, while Aaron Danilack added a double and smacked a 3-2 pitch over the fence in right-center for a solo shot in the fifth inning.
“I felt good. Coach always says you have to be confident with two strikes,” Danilack said. “He said, ‘You have to tell yourself you’re just not going to get beat. So make sure you’re confident so you can put the ball in play.’”
Danilack said he had been struggling at the plate recently and that the coaches had been taking some time to work on his swing in practice.
One wouldn’t have known he was having troubles by watching him against Coughlin.
In the first inning, he advanced Derek Chrismer to second on a sacrifice bunt, allowing Chrismer to score on a single by Ermish to quickly the game 1-1.
Danilack cracked the first pitch he saw to lead off the third for a double, eventually scoring from third when Ermish grounded into a double play.
After working the count full in the fifth with one out, he sent a line drive that kept carrying until it cleared the fence near the 355 sign.
“He’s a real smart kid, a good kid – one of our leaders on the team,” Modrovsky said. “You’re just happy when a line drive like that, for a kid like that, goes out of the park. It was a big hit for us.”
Coughlin sophomore Anthony Grillini has been strong all year on the mound, and was effective again on Wednesday. He surrendered just five hits and struck out six, with Danilack being the only one to hit him hard.
Mick Humanik led the Crusaders at the plate with a 2-for-3 afternoon.
Coughlin finished its season at 6-12 and picked up some important postseason experience for its young lineup.
“Every inning that we weren’t scoring, I knew we were letting it slip away, and that’s what happened,” Coughlin coach Moe Rodzinak said. “I knew runs were really going to be like gold today. And they were.”
District 2 Class 3A semifinals
|Sod ss||3||0||0||0||Chrismer c||1||1||0||0|
|Lisofsky cf||3||1||0||0||Dnlck 3b-2b||2||2||2||1|
|Merritt 3b||3||0||1||0||Sweeney cf||3||0||2||0|
|Ramirez 2b||3||0||1||1||Ermish p-3b||3||0||1||2|
|Martinez c||3||0||0||0||GRitz 1b||3||0||0||0|
|MHumanik rf||3||0||2||0||Wtrspn rf-p||2||0||0||0|
|Kearney lf||3||0||1||0||Wrenn lf||0||0||0||0|
|Weiscargr 1b||3||0||1||0||Mlkmes lf-rf||2||0||0||0|
|Grillini p||0||0||0||0||Lamore ss||1||0||0||0|
|Bucci dh||3||0||0||0||Katulka 2b||0||0||0||0|
2B – Danilack; HR – Danilack
|Grillini (L, 1-1)||6.0||5||3||3||4||6|
|Ermish (W, 2-0)||6.0||6||1||1||1||1|
Sophomores Bryan Mathers and Zach Yursha drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth before T.J. Stepanski legged out an infield single to bring home the winning run in a District 2 Class 2A semifinal game at Lake-Lehman High School.
Pitcher Bob Peron and the No. 4 Black Knights made it stand up over the final two innings and will now face the winner of today’s Riverside-Lakeland game on Friday for the district championship and a berth in the PIAA tournament. The site will be determined today, with the time likely to be in the early afternoon.
Lake-Lehman (15-2) won the D2-2A title in 2007, making it to the state quarterfinals.
On Wednesday, Peron gave up eight hits but just two runs for the complete-game victory. Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Peron also collected the Knights’ first hit against Holy Cross ace Joel Rosencrance to spark the offense to three runs.
“Bobby had the two-strike hit. And once we got that first hit, it was bang-bang-bang,” Lake-Lehman coach Mark LeValley said. “You could see the confidence come out in the kids, especially the young guys.”
Rosencrance went 3-for-4 and drove in both runs for the No. 9 Crusaders, who had beaten GAR and top-seeded Blue Ridge on the road in the first two rounds.
District 2 Class 2A semifinals
|Baker cf||3||1||0||0||Stepanski c||2||0||1||1|
|Shea 3b||4||0||0||0||Eckman cf||3||0||0||0|
|Rosncrnce p||4||0||3||2||Olshmski 3b||3||0||0||0|
|Duchnwski ss||4||0||0||0||Baker 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Murphy lf||3||0||1||0||Ellis 2b||3||0||1||0|
|Sebulko 2b||3||0||1||0||Peron p||2||1||1||0|
|Kasprwski 1b||3||0||2||0||Murphy rf||0||1||0||0|
|Weitz pr||0||0||0||0||Caffrey dh||2||0||1||0|
|Demian c||3||0||0||0||Mathers ss||2||1||1||1|
|Kincel rf||3||1||1||0||Yursha lf||2||0||0||1|
2B – Rosencrance
|Rosencrnce (L, 1-1)||6.0||5||3||3||0||4|
|Peron (W, 2-0)||7.0||8||2||1||1||2|