BEDFORD - Blake Baer may just be a freshman, but fortunately for the Bedford boys' soccer team, he doesn't play like one.
Baer scored a pair of second-half goals Monday, helping the top-seeded Bisons knock off Cambria Heights, 2-0, in the District 5/6 Class AA semifinals.
"Blake doesn't play like a freshman at all," Bedford coach Tom Otis said. "He's got good game intelligence. He's exceptionally strong and his mental vision of the field is extremely good."
With the win, Bedford advances to the district finals for the third time in four years. The Bisons will take on defending district champion Westmont Hilltop Thursday at Hollidaysburg's Tiger Stadium at 7 p.m.
Bedford last won district gold in 2007, defeating Lewistown in the finals. The Bisons advanced to the district championship again in 2008 but fell to Lewistown.
The Bisons needed a strong second half to get past the upset-minded Highlanders, however.
After a scoreless first half filled with end-to-end action, Baer staked Bedford to a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the second stanza.
Sean Leister started the play with a strong throw in that Nate Roadman quickly chipped to an open Baer in close.
"Sean's throw-ins are excellent. They're almost as good as a corner kick," Otis said. "We possessed the ball a lot better in the second half and were able to take advantage of a couple set plays."
Baer scored again from in close at the 10:57 mark moments after Steven Stroup blistered a free kick from about 30 yards that banged hard off the crossbar.
"It was an off balance kick," Baer said. "I was expecting the ball to get through. It's something we work on in practice and rehearsed many times."
For Cambria Heights (12-7-1), the season ends in the district semifinals for the second straight year. The Highlanders fell to Penns Valley in the 2009 Class A semis.
"We had a great season. A loss at this level doesn't minimize anything we've done this season," Heights coach Steve Krug said. "We've fought through injuries and a lot of other problems and came through it all."
The game was the final one for Krug as the Highlander head coach.
"I'm retiring. That was my sendoff," he said. "The program's growing and should have quite a bit of success over the next few years."
SCORE BY HALVES
Cambria Heights 0 0 - 0
Bedford 0 2 - 2
Second Half: B-Baer (Roadman), 37:22; B-Baer (Erlichman), 10:57.
Records: Cambria Heights (12-7-1); Bedford (18-3).