EVERETT - As important as Everett left-handed pitcher Kyle Droz's array of pitches are to his success, his even-keeled approach may be just as significant.
Droz brought that same attitude to the field on Tuesday and threw a complete game shutout, striking out 10 batters, as Everett defeated Chestnut Ridge, 4-0, in the District 5 Class AA semifinals.
"I felt like it was just another game," Droz said. "I just try to remain calm and relaxed like it's just another day at the ball field."
Everett will play Bedford in the District championship game next Tuesday. Bedford beat Northern?Bedford in Tuesday's other semifinal game. See page B6 for story.
The Warriors' ace yielded only three hits and two walks over seven innings, as he faced just four batters over the minimum of a seven-inning game. After each of the five occasions in which a Ridge player reached safely, Droz got out of the inning each time.
"I think he has a way of bearing down," Everett coach Mike Kline said. "He does it and he threw strikes and that was the key. You have to throw strikes and give your defense a chance to help you out."
Just one Chestnut Ridge base runner advanced to second base, which came in the sixth inning after Everett had already built its 4-0 advantage.
"When you face a quality pitcher like Droz, you have to take advantage of his mistakes," Chestnut Ridge coach Jared Bilchak said. "We had some guys on base and we were unable to capitalize. Hats off to Droz, he threw one heck of a game."
Everett got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. After leadoff man Spencer McInroy was hit by a J.D. Weyant pitch, he moved to second before Zakk Jays flew out to right, and Dylan Foor singled him in to score the game's first run.
Foor was in the middle of the action again in the fifth, as he doubled down the third base line to set runners at second and third base. Droz was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs, before Brian Greenwald walked to plate another run.
Reese Potts then grounded into a fielders choice to plate Dylan Foor, then Tanner Mellott singled in Ethan Foor, who was a courtesy runner for Droz.
"I think one of the keys was when McInroy moved up on a passed ball and Jays moved him over," Kline said. "Just the little things, getting guys that are on base moved over and putting the ball in play."
Chestnut Ridge's season ended with much optimism that was brought on by Bilchak. He led the Lions to a 9-12 record and the playoffs, a year removed from a 2-18 season.
Six seniors will graduate, but Bilchak isn't satisfied with just one year of success.
"It was big for me to send the seniors to the playoffs," Bilchak said. "I want to start a tradition here. I told the guys to come in with a strong work ethic and try to make yourself better. This isn't going to be a one-year deal. I believe we're on the right track to build a successful program for years to come."
With the Bedford-Everett title game, only one team will advance to states.
"We expect close games in the playoffs," Kline said. "Everyone gets up and is ready to play this time of year. We will be ready to play come Tuesday, as I'm sure they will."
CHESTNUT RIDGE (0): Guenther ss 300, J.D. Weyant p-lf 200, Wiley c 201, Winegardner 1b 300, Stultz 3b 301, Osman rf 000, Monko dh 100, Bonnett ph 100, Hengst lf 200, Mock p 100, B.M. Weyant 2b 200, Noon cf 201. Totals-23-0-3.
EVERETT (4): McInroy cf 210, Jays rf 210, D. Foor ss 413, Droz p 100, E. Foor cr 010, Stover c 201, Greenwald lf 300, Potts 3b 300, Mellott 1b 301, Jay 2b 000, McGregor dh 301. Totals-23-4-6.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Chestnut Ridge 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
Everett 001 030 X - 4 6 0
LOB-Chestnut Ridge 4, Everett 11. 2B-D. Foor. RBI-D. Foor, Greenwald, Potts, Mellott. SB-McInroy 2, Stover. CS-Wiley, Jays.
Juniata Valley: J.D. Weyant (L) 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 3 SO, Mock-IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, K.
Conemaugh Valley: Droz (W) 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO.
Records: Chestnut Ridge (9-12); Everett (18-1).