LOCKPORT - Trey Stover unleashed a high-velocity fastball right down the pike that Nate Clancy sent toward the direction of Luke Wise in right field.
Stover clapped his hand on the bump, and jogged toward the Central Mountain dugout just as the ball was dropping into Wise mitt.
"One run guys, just get me one run," the senior pitcher said as he slapped each of his teammates' hands between innings.
Michael Vonada made sure he got his one run.
Stover and the boys in blue did the rest.
Vonada's Texas Leaguer to shallow left field dropped just before Chad Koch could get to it, as Von Walker scored from second base. It was the only run Central Mountain would need as the Wildcats held off a charge from Altoona, 1-0, Thursday at Lock Haven University's Foundation Field.
The Wildcats move into Tuesday's District 6-9 Class AAAA championship to face off with No. 3 seed DuBois, which slipped by State College, 3-2.
"Trey was pitching awesome, and our defense was playing pretty good," said Vonada, who was 2-for-2 with two singles. "I was nervous, I'll tell you that. But everyone just hung in there."
The game was delayed about 35 minutes for thunder and lightning.
"I just told the guys to get me one run," said Stover, who picked up his seventh win of the season with the complete-game four-hitter with 11 strikeouts. "I knew that one run would make me feel a lot better."
Altoona (8-11) had runners on base in almost every inning.
Two on, two outs in the second. Two on, one out in the third. A one-out double by Jordan Sneed in the fourth. Again, two out, one in the books with the meat of the Mountain Lions' order in the fifth.
Different scenerios, but same results. Zeros on the scoreboard.
"We were one hit away from being on the good side," Altoona manager Tom Smith said. "Give credit to their pitcher. He's as good as advertised. We had runners in scoring position in the second through fifth innings, and we just couldn't get that clutch hit. They got three hits in one inning, and it was good enough for one run."
The trio of Channing Maiolo, Robby Nicodemus and Vonada pulled off a pretty-looking 4-6-3 double play to get out of the third.
"Four straight innings, we had guys close to home - and in two of those innings, we had two on base with only one out. We didn't have just one shot, we had two cracks at it. Again, credit their pitcher and defense. We had to find a way to get those guys in, and we couldn't do it today," Smith said.
Wise almost pulled off a double-play in the fifth, snaring Christian Helsel's rocket in right and immediately getting the ball back to second, almost picking off Chad Koch on a hit-and-run attempt. On the next play, Brad Walker scooped a hard-shot toward third and beat Koch to the bag, ending the threat.
Stover took matters into his own hands in the seventh, striking out the side to protect the one-run lead.
"I expected that strong defense entering into the season," CM manager Mike Kramer said. "Pitching and defense, those were the two areas where I knew our strength would be. I was very pleased with what we did. Playing in a 1-0 ballgame, and coming out with a victory, it shows that we could fight through some adversity and finish off a ballgame like this. You can't say enough about the way Trey pitched. He was throwing strong early, and he put zeros up the entire way through. Throwing a shutout against Altoona is great. There were situations where Altoona had runners in scoring position, and we battled out of it."
Central Mountain (16-1) scored the game-winner in the fourth.
Von Walker ripped a shot past lunging third baseman Clancy, and stole second base during Tyler Buckwalter's at-bat.
After Ryan Hill got on base, Vonada followed with a short bleeder into left field. The fielder took a step back - and was deceived - immediately charging in. By that time, it was too late. The dot dropped on the blades of grass, and Walker was already rounding third toward home.
"I was running hard down the line, saying that it was down because I got a good look at it," Vonada said. "I was just so happy when I saw it hit the grass. I knew Von was going to score because he read it pretty well."
Frederick was the hard-luck loser, tossing a six-hitter with two strikeouts and one walk.
Vonada and Hill accounted for four of CM's six hits. Walker and Wise had the remaining singles.
"We faced a guy that kept us off-balance," Kramer said. "We hit the ball, and hit it hard at times, but right at people. We did what we had to do. One run, in this case, did the job for us."
ALTOONA (0): Koch lf 400, Henderson ss 100, Helsel 2b 200, Lombardo c 300, Steele cf 300, Sneed 1b 301, McDonald rf 301, Clancy 3b 301, Frederick p 300. Totals - 25-0-3.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN (1): Stover p 300, Maiolo 2b 300, V. Walker cf 311, Buckwalter lf 300, Hill c 302, Vonada 1b 202, Bryan dh 200, Houser ph 100, Nicodemus ss 000, B. Walker 3b 200, Wise rf 201. Totals -24-1-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Altoona000 000 0-0 3 0
Central Mountain000 100 X-1 6 2
E-Maiolo, Vonada. 2B-Clancy; Sneed, Hill. RBI-Vonada. WP-Stover. LP-Frederick. SO-Frederick 2; Stover 11. BB-Frederick 1; Stover 3.
Records: Altoona (8-11); Central Mountain (16-1).