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Bishop Carroll falls to McCort

JOHNSTOWN — According to Bishop Carroll High School baseball coach Bill Schenk, the seniors on this year’s team left an admirable legacy, and the overall squad itself scratched and clawed through every game over the entire season.

Carroll won its first playoff game in eight years when the Huskies defeated Juniata Valley in Monday’s District 6 Class 1A quarterfinal round.

The fourth-seeded Huskies battled tooth-and-nail with top-seeded McCort in a District 6 Class 1A semifinal game on Thursday afternoon at Sargent’s Stadium at the Point, before the Crushers pushed across two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 5-5 tie and post a 7-5 victory to end Carroll’s season.

“It was a very well-played game,” Schenk said. “They took the early lead, we fought back, they chipped away and went ahead, we tied the game up, and we just couldn’t get across the runs we needed in the sixth and seventh innings.

“It was a battle back and forth,” Schenk said. “It was a thrilling game, nothing to be ashamed of. They got the key hits with runners on when they needed them, and scored runs.”

Carroll closed the books on an 8-10 season. A win Thursday would have earned the Huskies a spot in the PIAA Class 1A playoffs as no worse than a second-place finisher out of the district.

“We hadn’t won a playoff game in eight years before this season,” Schenk said. “The seniors on this year’s team left memories, and everybody on the team battled and came through.”

The unsung hero in Thursday’s game for McCort (14-7) was left-handed senior pitcher Matt Masholder, who came on in relief in the fourth inning and allowed no hits and only one run over the final four frames while striking out four batters and walking two.

“He’s just had an unbelievable senior year,” McCort coach Chris Pfeil said of Masholder. “We have so much faith in him, and he came through again for us today.”

Masholder felt quite at ease on the mound Thursday.

“My slider and fast ball were both working for me, and I felt confident out there,” Masholder said.

Masholder was credited with the win when McCort broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring two unearned runs without the benefit of a hit.

Third baseman Cole Bradley started the rally by drawing a walk against Carroll senior left-handed pitcher Carson Ertter, who had come on in relief.

After center fielder Will Miller struck out, Bradley moved to second on a wild pitch by Ertter and was run for by courtesy runner Zach Markley. Second baseman Cam Bunn drew a walk, and catcher Zach Ramach’s sharp ground ball eluded the grasp of first baseman Max Kline and went into right field, allowing Markley to score, Bunn to go to third base, and Ramach to go to second.

Sophomore pitcher-first baseman Brendon Bair was intentionally walked to load the bases, and designated hitter Nick McGowan’s groundout to shortstop plated Bunn to give McCort its 7-5 lead and final margin of victory.

“We executed our offensive game plan today,” Pfeil said of McCort’s overall offensive output, which produced seven hits against two Carroll pitchers. “We were facing one of the best pitchers in the area (Ertter), and we needed to limit our strikeouts. We had a simplified approach, (the hitters) stayed short to the ball, and we were able to scratch out some runs.”

McCort opened the game by scoring two runs in the first inning against Carroll right-handed senior starting pitcher Logan Gottshall. Senior first baseman-catcher Hunter Leech’s two-run single to left-center field scored Miller, who was hit by a pitch, and Bunn, who drew a walk. Both runners moved up a base on Ramach’s groundout.

Carroll bounced back with four runs in the top of the third inning against McCort starting pitcher Bair. Left fielder Hunter Dumm drew a leadoff walk, and advanced to second when Gottshall’s ground ball was mishandled. Right fielder Alex Karlheim laid down a good bunt, and a throwing error by Bair on the play allowed Dumm to score, Gottshall to move to third base, and Karlheim to reach second.

Ertter, who will play college baseball at Penn State, followed with a two-run single up the middle that scored both Gottshall and Karlheim to give Carroll a 3-2 lead. Ertter went to second on the throw in, advanced to third on a Bair wild pitch, and scored on Jake Zazversky’s single to center that staked the Huskies to a 4-2 lead.

McCort rallied with a run in the third inning on Miller’s RBI single, and two runs in the fifth inning, knocked in by McGowan’s sacrifice fly and Leech’s single to left field, to take a 5-4 lead.

Carroll battled back with an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, 5-5, as catcher Evan Becquet drew a leadoff walk, advanced two bases on a groundout and steal of third, and came home on a McCort error.

While McCort advances to Tuesday’s District 6 Class 1A championship game next Tuesday at Peoples Natural Gas Field against Saint Joseph’s Academy, an 8-5 winner over Blacklick Valley in Thursday’s other semifinal game, Carroll looks toward next season.

“We’re losing six seniors, but we have four starters coming back,” Schenk said. “Our seniors set a good example, and our juniors now have to step up and become team leaders.”

BISHOP CARROLL (5): Gottshall p-2b 410, Karlheim rf 110, Ertter cf-p 411, Zazvrsky ss 301, Becquet c 210, Nealen 2b-lf 000, M. Beiswenger dh 301, Kline 1b 300, Gomish 3b 300, Dumm lf-cf 210. Totals — 25-5-3.

BISHOP MCCORT (7): Miller cf 311, Bunn 2b 232, Ramach c ss 410, Bair p-2b 200, Masholder p 000, Leis ss 000, McGowan dh 200, Leech 1b-c 302, Markley cr 010, Page lf 411, Staib rf 301, Bradley 3b 200. Totals –25-7-7.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Bishop Carroll 004 001 0–5 3 2

Bishop McCort 200 122 X–7 7 3

E–Zazvrsky, Kline, Bair, Leis, Bradley. RBI– Ertter 2, Zazvrsky, Leech 3, McGowan 2, Miller. SB–Bunn, Becquet. SAC–Karlheim. SF–McGowan. HBP–Leech by Masholder; Miller by Gottshall. LOB–Bishop McCort 9, Bishop Carroll 4.

PITCHING

BISHOP CARROLL: Gottshall 3 2/3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 1SO; Errter (L) 2 1/3IP, 2H, 4R, 0ER, 4BB, 3SO.

BISHOP MCCORT: Bair 3IP, 3H, 4R, 1ER, 2BB, 8SO; Masholder (W) 4IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 4SO.

WP–Gottshall, Ertter, Bair. PB–Ramach.

Umpires: Brent Dorofey (plate); Seth Matthews (first base); Ron Goisovich (third base);

Records: Bishop Carroll (8-10); Bishop McCort (14-7).

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