PIAA Class AA baseball championship
Who: Loyalsock Township Lancers (4-1, 22-5) vs. Central Scarlet Dragons (6-1, 24-0)
Where: Medlar Park at Lubrano Field, University Park
When: Today, 10:30 a.m.
The coaches: Loyalsock-Jeremy Eck (99-12, five years); Central-A.J. Hoenstine (123-58, eight years).
How they got here: Loyalsock-defeated Wellsboro, 16-6, in the District 4 first round; defeated Montoursville, 3-1, in the District 4 quarterfinals; defeated Hughesville, 10-0, in the District 4 semifinals; defeated Bloomsburg, 7-4, in the District 4 championship; defeated Bald Eagle Area, 6-1, in the PIAA first round; defeated Notre Dame-Green Pond, 4-0, in the PIAA quarterfinals; defeated Neumann-Goretti, 4-3, in the PIAA semifinals. Central-defeated Ligonier Valley, 9-0, in the District 6 quarterfinals; defeated Forest Hills, 12-2, in the District 6 semifinals; Bald Eagle Area, 5-1, in the District 6 championship; defeated Quaker Valley, 4-1, in the PIAA first round; defeated Franklin, 17-7, in the PIAA quarterfinals; defeated Northwestern, 14-2, in the PIAA semifinals.
Pitching probables: Loyalsock-RHP Kyle Datres (sr., 7-2, 0.86, 89 Ks). Central-RHP Mike Mock (jr., 11-0, 0.67, 84 Ks) or RHP Ethan Lewis (sr., 10-0, 3.52, 33 Ks).
Probable lineups: Loyalsock-RHP-SS Kyle Datres (jr., .417), RF Jimmy Webb (jr., .475), 2B Phil Kirzan (sr., .303), LF Robbie Klein (sr., .250), 1B Tommy Baggett (jr., .294), 3B Joe Balawajader (jr., .416), DH Bailey Young (sr., 245, batting for SS Nate Kirzan, sr.), C Evan Moore (jr., .268), CF Nick DiFrancisco (sr., .311). Central-SS Austin Cunningham (sr., .507), RF-P Ethan Lewis (sr., .388), 1B Jay Stern (jr., .413), LF Bradi Moore (sr., .417), P-RF Mike Mock (jr., .430), 2B Nick Hoenstine (jr., .474), DH Josh McKnight (fr., 500, batting for C Brandon Ritchey, sr.), 3B Brenden Vollkommer (jr., .352), CF Zach Slagenweit (sr., .321).
The winner gets: The state championship
Notable: Central is making its third appearance in the state finals but still is seeking its first state title. The Scarlet Dragons last played in the championship game in 2010. ... Loyalsock is the defending PIAA Class AA champion. Only one senior was on last year's team. ... The Lancers have made it to at least the semifinals five times since winning a state title in 2008. ... Only four of Central's games this year have been decided by three runs or less. ... Datres already has committed to North Carolina, Webb has committed to Wake Forest, and injured pitcher Luke Glavin is on his way to Duke. ... Central teams have made it to interdistricts in three sports this season. The Dragons won the District 6 football championship and were runners-up to Richland in the District 6 basketball tournament. ... Central has scored 275 runs this season. Loyalsock only has given up 69. ... Datres has three home runs, matching Central's team total. ... Central has stolen 102 bases, nearly twice as many as Loyalsock. Cunningham leads the Dragons with 24. ... Central is trying to be the seventh District 6 high school to win a PIAA baseball championship.
- Philip Cmor