JOHNSTOWN - Throughout the District 6 and state baseball playoffs, Bishop Carroll has depended on the pitching tandem of Nick Lassak and Ryan Woo.
Lassak starts the game, then hands it off to Woo. The strategy got the Huskies to the PIAA Class A quarterfinals at Point Stadium for a matchup with Serra Catholic Thursday.
Unfortunately for Bishop Carroll, Woo had tossed too many innings in the Huskies' first-round state playoff victory over Chartiers-Houston Monday to be eligible to pitch in the quarterfinals.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Bishop?Carroll’s Drew McCabe reacts to the last out of Thursday’s loss to Serra Catholic.
Lassak did a fantastic job through six innings, allowing just two runs, only one of which was earned, but ran out of gas in the seventh as Serra Catholic scored three runs to break open a tie game as Carroll fell, 6-3.
"Nick threw great," Bishop Carroll's Drew McCabe said. "He went seven innings and gave up just six hits. You couldn't ask for more. They just had crucial hits in crucial times, and we made some crucial mistakes."
Even if Lassak had held Serra Catholic scoreless in the seventh, it would have been a tall task for the Huskies to score again off Eagles pitcher Alain Girman.
"He was pretty tough," said McCabe regarding Girman. "He was throwing close to 90 [miles per hour] the entire game. He's probably going to be a Division I pitcher. I don't even know what to say."
The junior left-hander allowed just two hits, both to McCabe, and improved his career record to 23-0. He also smacked a pair of key doubles. The first came in the first inning when he drove home Chris Miller with two outs, and the second was leading off the sixth inning. Girman eventually scored on a McCabe error with two outs to give Serra Catholic a 3-1 lead.
McCabe more than made up for his miscue in the bottom half of the inning.
With one out, Lassak reached on an error and went to second on a wild pitch. Girman, not wanting to put the tying run on first with a walk, went after McCabe, and the senior slugger who is headed to Delgado Community College, smashed a two-run home run that tied the game at three.
"Their pitcher is 23-0 for a reason, but we hit some balls hard," Bishop Carroll coach Matt Pfeil said. "Drew was sitting on a pitch, and he got it. Drew has been a big hitter for us all season, and he got us back into the game."
The tie, however, was short lived.
Lassak walked the first three batters in the top of the seventh inning, two of those coming on full counts, as he neared 100 pitches. With no outs, Trevor Jaworski hit a sinking fly ball to right field. It appeared as though Woo, the right fielder, was trying to position himself for a throw home on what looked like it would be a sacrifice fly, but the ball fell and got past Woo for a two-run double.
"Trevor Jaworski came through with the big hit," Serra Catholic coach Brian Dzurenda said. "I thought the kid had it measured in right field. I'm not really sure what happened. I think maybe [Woo] looked up to see if we were tagging on the play and misplayed the ball."
An out later, Colton Joseph lined a single to right field that scored one run, but Woo threw out Jaworski at home to minimize the damage.
Girman, however, looked his strongest in the bottom of the seventh inning, striking out the side to finish with 10 punchouts on the day.
The loss closed the book on a 15-9 season for the Huskies that saw them capture the District 6 championship, capping a year in which Bishop Carroll won the Class A district title in football, basketball and baseball.
"It felt great to cap off our baseball careers with a district title," McCabe said. "We worked hard this season. From back in November until now, we have been finding places all over just to get workouts in, and we deserved this."
The Huskies started seven seniors Thursday.
"We won the district championship, and it's all because the seniors," Pfeil said. "Most of these kids started for me when they were freshmen. They took their lumps the first two years, they battled last year and obviously they were ready this year. That's a big banner hanging in the gymnasium that will be cherished."
SERRA CATHOLIC (6): Kugler cf 300, Loftis ss 110, Miller c 220, Girman p 322, Jaworski 3b 401, Hazaga lf 300, Joseph 2b 301, Coddington rf 312, Zitelli dh 200, Hydak 1b 000. Totals - 24-6-6.
BISHOP CARROLL (3): Link 2b 300, Lassak p 210, McCabe ss 322, Makin c 300, King 3b 300, Woo rf 300, Sammarco cf 300, Maruca dh 300, Strong 1b 000, Tatarko lf 200. Totals -25-3-2.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Serra Catholic100 011 3-6 6 2
Bishop Carroll000 102 0-3 2 1
E-Jaworski, Joseph, McCabe. 2B-Girman 2. HR - McCabe. RBI-Jaworski 2, Girman, Joseph, McCabe 2, Makin. WP-Girman. LP-Lassak. SO-Girman 10, Lassak 1. BB-Girman 2, Lassak 6.
Records: Serra Catholic (19-2); Bishop Carroll (15-9)