Baseball: La Salle, Neumann-Goretti triumph in quarters

LAURENDALE, Pa. - On Friday, in a PIAA state quarterfinal doubleheader that was delayed a day because of rain, the Catholic League made it a clean sweep at Muhlenberg High, just outside Reading.

In a thrilling Class AAAA nightcap, La Salle packed most of its scoring into the final three innings and, with a one-out sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh, nipped District 3's Central Dauphin, 7-6.

First, in Class AAA, in the resumption of a contest suspended in the fourth inning Thursday, Neumann-Goretti jumped on District 11's Blue Mountain for six runs and easily triumphed, 9-2.

The Explorers, who overcame deficits of 2-0 and 5-3, prevailed when Ryan Otis plated pinch-runner Marcus Sistrun with a fly to left field.

"Going into the bottom of the inning, with the score tied, we liked our chances," La Salle skipper Joe Parisi said.

On Monday, at Spring-Ford High in Royersford, the Explorers will clash with Hatboro-Horsham, of District 1, in a noon semifinal. That will be followed, at about 3 p.m., with N-G's semifinal meeting against District 3 titlist Lampeter-Strasburg.

In the sixth for La Salle, junior first baseman Chris Melillo (3 for 4, four RBIs) ripped a three-run triple to center to give La Salle a 6-5 edge. "It was a first-pitch curveball," he said. "On that at-bat, I was looking to be pretty aggressive."

A two-run fifth was highlighted by Colin Pyne's RBI single and Tyler Kozeniewski's RBI triple off the right-field fence.

Because catcher and Red Division MVP Corey Baiada[CQ] was sidelined with the flu, Parisi had to shake up the lineup. Christian Bruno took over behind the plate, and handled three pitchers.

N-G, which loaded the bases before leaving Thursday, immediately broke open a 2-2 tie. Josh Ockimey, a sophomore first baseman, highlighted the fourth-inning explosion with a three-run blast to right-center field.

"I was confident that we were going to score some runs on them," N-G coach Mike Zolk said. "We wanted to be aggressive right away, especially on the bases."

Marty Venafro started things with a run-scoring sacrifice fly to center. After Ockimey's shot, Jimmy Kerrigan (double to left) and Joe Kinee (hit by pitch) scored on errors to make it 8-2.

-Rick O'Brien

Central Dauphin 200 003 1-6 10 1
La Salle 001 023 1-7 10 0
WP: Mike Piscopo. LP: Jared Lydon. 2B: CD-Conner Anderson; LS-Piscopo. 3B: CD-A.J. Aull, Blake Lazur; LS-Chris Melillo, Tyler Kozeniewski.

Blue Mountain 001 100 0-2 4 3
Neumann-Goretti 002 610 X-9 8 1
WP: John LaMotta. LP: Scott Snyder. 2B: NG-Joey Gorman, Jimmy Kerrigan. HR: NG-Josh Ockimey.