Winner of the Curve Classic a year ago, Hollidaysburg entered this year's tournament looking to make it two in a row, but before the Golden Tigers can do that, they had to win Friday's quarterfinal game against Latrobe.
Coach Jon Szynal put his ace on the mound to do just, and Andy Crum came through, going the distance in a 3-1 win over Latrobe at PNG Field.
"He's our go to guy. I saved him for the opening game of the tournament," Szynal said. "He had a great year last year. He's someone we look to to throw a lot of strikes. His fastball had a lot of movement, and he was able to mix in some curves for strikes."
Crum pitched all seven innings, giving up one unearned and striking out six.
Hollidaysburg staked Crum to an early lead off Latrobe freshman Jared Kollar when four of the first five Hollidaysburg batters reached base.
Trent Sipes led off the bottom of the first with a double and Jordan McCall brought him around with a single to left field for a 1-0 lead.
Crum followed with a single, and John Servello walked, putting Golden Tigers at first and second with one out. Zack Simpson grounded into a double play, ending Hollidaysburg's bid for a big early lead.
Kollar went on to retire the next nine Hollidaysburg hitters.
"He really settled in and started throwing two or three different pitches for strikes. He kept us quiet in the middle of the game," Syznal said.
Latrobe looked to answer right back in the top of second, loading the bases with one out, but Cody Helfrich lined into a double play. Simpson snagged the line drive and stepped on first to end the threat.
"We had a lot of at 'em balls. We made good contact," Latrobe coach Matt Basciano said. "The one to first really hurt. One foot to the left or right, and we're in business."
Hollidaysburg tacked a run on in the fifth. Jericho Hilling led off with a double. Dan Stubbs doubled home Zack Weaver, who was running for Hilling. Latrobe cut the lead in half with a run in the sixth. Alex Powell walked, moved to second on a passed ball, reached third on an error and scored on a fielder's choice.
Hollidaysburg got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. Crum led off with a single. Chad Dongell, who was running for Crum, moved to second on a errant pickoff throw, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a Simpson single.
Hollidaysburg plays Altoona today at 5:30 in one semifinal matchup. Altoona beat Clearfield 10-8 earlier in the day Friday. Bishop Carroll Catholic and Central play in the other semifinal game at 3.
LATROBE (1): Vallorani cf 400, Powell rf-p 100, Holler 1b 300, Rodgers c 200, Takitch ph 100, Kollar 302, Guerrieri cr-rf 000, Kolling 3b 100, Cengia 3b 100, Verchuck lf 301, Helfrich ss 200, Saunders 2b 200, Onorato 2b 100. Totals - 24 1 3.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (3): Sipes ss 311, Augustine lf 300, McCall 3b 301, Crum p 302, Dongell cr 010, Servello rf 200, Simpson 301, Kelly cr, Hilling 311, Weaver cr 010, Fluke cf 100, Stubbs 2b 201. Totals - 23 3 7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Latrobe 000 001 0-1 3 1
Hollidaysburg100 011 x-3 7 1
E-Powell, Sipes. 2B-SIpes, Hilling, Stubbs. RBI-Kollar, McCall, SImpson, Stubbs. WP-Crum. LP-Kollar. SO-Kollar 4, Crum 6. BB-Kollar 1, Crum 4.
Records: Latrobe (3-4); Hollidaysburg (2-1).