Penn Cambria takes down LV

LILLY — Penn Cambria baseball coach James Poldiak sat out the 2017 season because of health issues. He saw only one Panthers baseball game that season: A 4-3 loss to Huntingdon in the District 6 Class 3A playoffs.

Fast forward to one year later. Poldiak and the Panthers will get another crack at the top-seeded Bearcats in the District Class AAA playoffs at a site and time to be determined. Penn Cambria earned the semifinal berth after it eked out a 4-1 victory against Ligonier Valley on Tuesday at Lilly-Washington War Memorial Field.

The Panthers will face top-seeded Huntingdon in a semifinal-round game at a site and time to be determined.

“In a sense you still have to keep it in perspective,” Poldiak said. “We’re going to go in with an attitide that we win or go home.”

Right-hander Tanner Perrone struck out 12 and walked only one over six innings to pick up the victory.

Poldiak had a sense that Perrone would give him more of what the Panthers needed.

“He had that look in the eye today that he was going to have a good outing,” Poldiak said. “He was very efficient. He got ahead on the count, threw strikes,” Poldiak said.

“The curveball was keeping them off balance. When you throw Tanner out there, that’s what you come to expect because he’s been solid all year.”

The game, which began a half-hour later than scheduled because of rain, started as a duel between Perrone and Ligonier Valley sophomore Michael Marinchak.

The Rams managed their only run off Perrone in the second inning. Jay P. Salancy singled, and advanced on a wild pitch. Walks to Ethan Boring and Hunter Jones followed. Jake Ankeny brought home home Salancy with a two-out single, but Perrone wriggled out of the bases-loaded jam with a force play at home.

The Rams (11-8) left six runners on base, including three in that second inning. The lack of run support made a loser of Marinchak for the first time this season.

“I wish he could have gotten a little more run support,” Jones said.

Marinchak struck out seven batters and walked four while he yielded four hits over the first 4 1-3 innings. He started to weaken, however, in the fourth inning, when he threw 37 pitches but managed to limit the Panthers to one run,

“I was really happy with the way Michael pitched,” Jones said. “(The fourth) was the inning that he ran out gas. (But) Michael’s done a great job all year for us.”

Perrrone finally received what Marinchak could have used in the fourth and fifth innings. A leadoff walk to Mason Ronan in the fourth inning led to the tying run. Brock Talko followed with a one-out walk, and Jacob Shuagis scored Ronan with a single to center.

A one-out walk to Braeden O’Donnell in the fifth, followed by an infield error, started the pivotal rally. Ronan lifted a towering fly ball well beyond the reach of Salancy, the right fielder, to break the tie. Shuagis scored Ronan to create a three-run difference.

LIGONIER VALLEY (1): Kuzemchak lf 400, J.Caldwell cf 300, Schueltz ss-p 300, Solancy rf 311, Anderson 2b 300, Marinchak p-ss 300, oring 3b 301, Jones 1b 302, A.Caldwell cr 000, Ankeny c 301, Mills cr 000, Totals 27-1-5.

PENN CAMBRIA (4): Perrone p 401, O’Donnell ss 110, Hite cf 411, Ronan rf 221, Beck dh 300, Reese 2b 000, Talko c 201, Conway cr 000, Shuagis 1b 301, Cabrera lf 301, Sekerak 3b 200, Totals 24-4-6

SCORE BY INNINGS

Ligonier Valley 010 000 0–1 5 1

Penn Cambria 000 130 x–4 6 1

E–Schutltz, O’Donnell. LOB–Ligonier Valley 6, Penn Cambria 8. 2B–Hite. 3B–Ronan. SH–Sekarak. SB–Ronan. WP–Perrone. LP — Marinchak.

Team records: Penn Cambria (13-6), Ligonier Valley (11-8).

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