By: Ed Weaver | NTL Sports | June 6, 2017
The Wellsboro Varsity Baseball team's season came to an end in a 1-0 loss to Old Forge at Canton High School in the first round of the PIAA State Playoffs on Monday, June 5.
"It was a tough loss today," said head coach Philip Prough. "We learned a lot about ourselves today, the biggest one was that we can play on this stage. Bringing everybody back, it's a valuable lesson."
The game was a classic pitchers duel as both teams combined for 10 hits. Old Forge had 6 while Wellsboro was held to 4.
The Devils had the first crack at scoring a run in the top of the third. With runners on the corner, freshman Carson Davis threw over to first to hold Patrick Donovan on. At that time, Brendan Mozeleski took off towards home while sophomore Cam Tennis made a snap throw to brother junior Caleb Tennis for the tag on Mozeleski to prevent the run.
The Hornets had their chance an inning later.
After back-to-back ground outs, Caleb Tennis drew a walk to put a runner on. Freshman Lucas Citrino came on to pinch run for Tennis, and stole second to advance into scoring position. A base hit to shallow right field by junior Parker Mann sent Citrino running, but the young freshman was thrown out at the plate keeping the score deadlocked at 0-0.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the sixth when the Devils finally got on the scoreboard. Mason Boettger led off with a walk, and Matt Tisdel, pinch running for Boettger, was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Donovan. A single by Lorenzo Febbo put two runners on after the ball popped out of junior Johnny Rowland's glove. Tisdel scored in the next at bat as Patrick Banks grounded out to junior Dalton Prough at short stop. Davis prevented any more damage by striking out Kevin Welsh to end the inning.
Wellsboro's bats continued to struggle the rest of the game, but the Hornets had a chance in the bottom of the seventh.
After back-to-back strikeouts, Rowland grounded to third base, and what should have been a routine throw to end the game, Rowland reached first on the error, then made it to second because of the throw. A wild pitch moved Rowland over to third, but a strikeout ended the game and the chance for the Hornets to continue their season.
Prough, freshman Billy Lechler, Rowland, and Mann had the Hornets' hits. Rowland started on the mound and pitched the first 2 innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk. Davis came on in relief for the final 5 innings, giving up a run, 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts in the loss.
Mozeleski pitched a complete game for the Devils, striking out 8 and scattering 4 hits in 7 innings.
Prough ended the 2017 season with 29 hits, 22 runs scored, 7 doubles, 12 RBI's, 15 walks, and a 0.392 average. Prough has 71 hits for his career. Rowland (26), Davis (25), Cam Tennis (24), and Lechler (23) finished in the top 5 for hits, and Davis and Lechler are the first freshman to have 20+ hits in a season since Dawson Prough (26) in 2013.
Rowland led Wellsboro with 9 stolen bases, Davis had 108 put outs, Prough made 53 assists and was involved in 6 double plays, and Rowland was 9-2 on the year pitching with 42 strikeouts.
While the loss may sting for some time, there might be a silver lining. The 2017 team featured 0 seniors, so everyone will be back next year. With a loaded roster than one the school's first District IV championship back with a year under their belts... watch out.
"We need to get stronger and faster for next season," Prough said. "You can't teach speed and you can't teach strength. We're an athletic team and if we get that much stronger we'll be that much better. We have a lot to look forward to, and I told the boys you have nothing to hang your heads about."
The 2017 District IV Class AA champions end the season with a 12-11 record.