PIAA Class 3A championship preview capsule
Who: Holy Redeemer Royals (4-1, 16-4) vs. Central Scarlet Dragons (6-2, 23-3
Where: Medlar Park at Lubrano Field, University Park
When: Today, 3 p.m.
The coaches: Holy Redeemer–Chris Ritsick (Record unavailable, 13 years overall, 12 years at Holy Redeemer); Central–A.J. Hoenstine (184-74, 11 years).
How they got here: Holy Redeemer–defeated Lake Lehman, 10-0, in the District 2 quarterfinals; defeated Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 7-1, in the District 2 semifinals; defeated Lakeland, 3-2, in the District 2 championship; defeated Tamaqua, 5-0, in the PIAA first round; defeated Oley Valley, 4-3, in the PIAA quarterfinals; defeated Loyalsock, 4-0, in the PIAA semifinals. Central–defeated Ligonier Valley, 15-0, in the District 6 quarterfinals; defeated Philipsburg-Osceola, 7-3, in the District 6 semifinals; lost to Huntingdon, 2-0, in the District 6 championship; defeated Chestnut Ridge, 10-0, in the PIAA first round; defeated Riverside, 1-0, in the PIAA quarterfinals; defeated Huntingdon, 3-1, in the PIAA semifinals.
Pitching probables: Holy Redeemer–RHP Jordan Choman (5-1, 1.71, 34 Ks). Central–RHP Brady Nicewonger (5-0, 1.52, 24 Ks) or LHP Preston Karstetter (3-0, 1.53, 19 Ks).
Probable lineups: Holy Redeemer–SS Tucker Ell (sr., .333), 2B Tim Cavanaugh (sr., .345), C Tom Borum (jr., .393), 3B Cade Flanley (sr., .352), P Jordan Choman (jr., .317), RF Tony Molitoris (sr., .293), CF Robb McClay (sr., .294), 1B Mikalus Bozentka (jr., .250), LF Sean Wills (jr., .286). Central–SS Alex Hoenstine (sr., .359), CF Chase Smith (sr., .481), 3B Josh McKnight (sr., .414), RF Michael Speck (sr., .303), C Jacob Muthler (sr., .293), LF Hunter Liebal (sr., .369), 2B Larry Corle (sr., .390), DH Jarrett Imler (sr., .265) batting for P Brady Nicewonger or P Preston Karstetter, 1B Brice Brumbaugh (sr., .091).
The winner gets: The state championship
Notable: This is Central’s fourth trip to the state finals and its third since 2010. The Scarlet Dragons still are seeking their first PIAA championship. … The Dragons lost ot Loyalsock in their most recent trip to the finals in 2014. … Central has been a state semifinalist in football the last two seasons. … Holy Redeemer, formed by the combination of a pair of northeast Pennsylvania Catholic schools a dozen years ago, never had been beyond the state quarterfinals until this season. … Smith has 20 extra-base hits, including nine triples. … Alex Hoenstine, the half-brother of the Central coach, is heading to Penn State as a preferred walk-on for football. Their dad, Dave, was a minor league player in the Reds chain in the late 1970s and early 1980s. … Central hasn’t allowed an earned run in interdistricts and only 41 all season. … Six Dragon starters will play college baseball, including McKnight at Division II Pitt-Johnstown.