DuBOIS — The Elk-McKean Senior League All-Stars used a strong pitching performance to secure an 8-4 victory over Pennridge in the State tournament at Showers Field Thursday night.
The game pitted a pair of winners from the opening day of the tourney, as Elk-Mckean now moves on to today’s winners’ bracket final while Pennridge will face elimination today.
After Elk-McKean starting pitcher Luke Zimmerman worked around a two-out walk followed by an error in the top of the first, the home side got off to a strong start at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
After a strikeout started the inning, Aiden Zimmerman singled to left with one away before stealing second to move into scoring position.
With the hit-and-run on, Camron Marciniak grounded out to short as Aiden Zimmerman raced around to score all the way from second on the groundout for the game’s first run.
Harley Morris then got a two-out rally started by drawing a walk before Carson Whiteman reached on an infield single and an arrant throw on the play allowed Morris to come in to score.
Novosel then doubled to left field to bring home Whiteman before being replaced at second by special pinch runner Collin Porter.
Domenic Allegretto followed by hitting a grounder to short, as the throw to first was off target allowing him to reach base while Porter scored the fourth and final run of the frame.
Pennridge got a pair of runs back in the top of the second as the first four batters of the inning reached on a hit by pitch followed by three walks to push across Noah Rush for the first run of the inning.
Reese Wolfgang followed with a sacrifice fly to left as Quinn Keller narrowly beat the throw to the plate to bring the score to 4-2.
Elk-McKean added to its lead with a run in the third as it was strong two-out at-bats that got the job done once again.
After the first two batters were sat down, Allegretto singled up the middle then stole second before being brought home on a single to left-center by Kaden Dennis.
The score then remained 5-2 into the late innings before Elk-Mckean added three crucial insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The bottom of the order got the frame rolling as Dennis and Ethan Wells, the eight and nine hitters in the lineup, singled to left and right-center respectively.
After Wells moved to second on a fielder’s indifference, Luke Zimmerman laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound as Dennis raced home to score when the throw went to first.
After a fly out resulted in the second out of the inning, Marciniak kept the frame alive by drawing a walk then moving up on a fielder’s indifference to put runners on second and third for Morris.
The cleanup hitter delivered, doubling to right filed to bring home both runners and push Elk-McKean’s lead to 8-2 heading into the final inning of play.
Luke Zimmerman, Dalton Stahli and Porter had combined for a no-hitter on the mound into the seventh inning for Elk-McKean.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Shea Grourke broke up the no-hit bid by doubling to right-center off of Porter.
After a walk, a passed ball and back-to-back pushed across a pair of runs as Pennridge trimmed the deficit to 8-4 and had runners on second and third.
Elk-McKean then turned to Allegretto on the mound to face Keller as it looked to put an end to the rally.
With a 1-2 count, a pitch from Allegretto skipped in the turf and off of Wells behind the plate as Alex Fravel initially looked to score from third on the play.
Wells was able to track down the loose ball quickly before Fravel could get to the plate as he attempted to retreat back to third.
Instead Wells chased him down the base line and threw to third baseman Whiteman who got the tag down in time for the game’s final out.
“I’m glad with the W, but there are definitely areas that we need to tighten up move on,” Elk-McKean manager Casey Zimmerman said. “We’re gearing up for this winners’ bracket final game.
“Our pitching is set up and everything is working out as planned, we just need to tighten things up and learn how to close a game a little bit more efficiently.”
Elk-McKean will now take on Upper Moreland in the winners’ bracket final today at 7 p.m. with a spot in Sunday’s championship game on the line.