LIGONIER - One big inning by the Ligonier Valley Rams was enough to end the fifth-seeded Penn Cambria Panthers' season as the fourth-seeded Rams came out victorious, 6-3, in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals on Friday.
"We left too many runners on base," said Panthers coach James Poldiak after his team stranded seven runners in the loss.
That wasn't an issue for Ligonier in the third inning, when the Rams strung together a five hits to produce five runs.
It started with Ligonier Valley senior Ian Taggart reaching on a single up the middle and being moved up by a passed ball. Fellow senior Anthony Tutino drove him in on a double to deep left field, and Tutino scored on a Ryan Torrance single to give the Rams a 3-0 advantage and they weren't finished.
After Torrance reached third base on an error, a walk gave the Rams runners on the corners with only one out. Rams' third basemen Matt Ryan then drove in a pair of runs with a single up the middle to give the Rams a 5-0 lead heading into the fourth.
The Panthers came alive in the fifth to come within striking distance of the Rams.
After catcher Brendan Eckenrode drew a leadoff walk and Jake Schwaderer was hit by a pitch, Panthers pitcher Joel Myers helped his own cause by driving in Eckenrode on a single to right field. With runners on the corners, Penn Cambria senior Jordan Fuller doubled down the line in right to drive in two more runs and gut the deficit to 5-3.
The Rams, however, answered when a Jake Nemeth single drove in Zach Yeskey to make it 6-3.
The game started off looking promising for the Panthers. Schwaderer drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second base on a passed ball to give the Panthers a runner in scoring position.
But after a hard line drive and two strikeouts the Rams were out of the inning and the Panthers came out scoreless in the first frame.
"It's a tough way to end the season, but, from where we started this season to where we finished, I'm extremely proud of this group of guys,"Poldiak said. "We improved week-by-week, and it showed. I couldn't be more pleased with the way they worked this season."
The Rams move on to face Philipsburg-Osceola, the top seed, in the District 6 Class AA semifinals on Monday.
"They're tough and won't roll over for us and it's going to be a challenge, but we knew it wouldn't be easy,'' Rams coach John Jones said. "We're just going to go out and give it our best shot."
PENN CAMBRIA (3): Schwaderer cf 210, S. Itle 2b 200, Jo. Myers p 411, Vinglish rf 200, Jo. Fuller 1b-c 401, Ju. Myers ss 302, Ju. Fuller lf 100, Z. Itle 3b 300, Eckenrode c-1b 110. Totals - 22-3-4
LIGONIER VALLEY (6): Taggart cf 411, Tutino ss 411, R. Torrance lf 411, Ritenour rf 400, Yeskey 1b 420, A. Torrance c 311, Ryan 2b 302, Bloom 3b 301, Nemeth dh 302. Totals - 32-6-9.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Penn Cambria000 030 0-3 4 3
Ligonier Valley005 010 X-6 9 0
E-S. Itle 2, Ju. Myers. 2B-Tutino, A. Torrance, Nemeth, Jo. Fuller. RBI-Ryan 2, Tutino, R. Torrance, A. Torrance, Nemeth, Jo. Fuller 2, Joel Myers. WP-Puschnigg. LP-Jo. Myers. S-Elliott. SO-Puschnigg 4, Elliott 4, Joel Myers 1. BB-Puschnigg 3, Elliott 3, Jo. Myers 3. HB-Puschnigg 4.
Records: Penn Cambria (11-7); Ligonier Valley (16-5).