BASEBALL: Cochranton breaks away from Ike in D10 final

SLIPPERY ROCK – One bad inning.

That was the story of the day for the Eisenhower Knights, who surrendered five runs – all unearned – in the fifth inning of Monday’s District 10 Class A championship game against Cochranton, at Slippery Rock University. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Knights, 8-1, to win their first District 10 championship in school history.

“We didn’t play a bad game, they just hit better than we did,” said Eisenhower coach Jon Vincent, whose Knights finish 6-12 overall. “They outhit us today and (Cochranton pitcher Ryan) Northcott pitched a nice game. He kept us off the bases all day. My hat’s off to him.”

Northcott worked all seven innings to earn the win for Cochranton, allowing just one unearned run in the first. The Cardinal righty struck out nine batters and came through at the plate, driving in five of his team’s eight runs on two hits.

Ike’s chances looked good early, when leadoff hitter Coty Cantrell reached first and advanced to second on an error to start the game. Freshman pitcher Casey Vincent followed up with a perfectly placed bunt single, advancing Cantrell to third, and the two executed a double steal to give the Knights a 1-0 advantage. Vincent would make his way to third with two down, but the Cardinals escaped when a well-hit ball by Logan Bellardo found the glove of left fielder Jacob Yarnell to end the inning.

Cochranton evened things up in the bottom of the second when Jesse Staudt reached on an error, advanced to third on a single from Caleb Peterson, and scored on a passed ball to put his team on the board.

With the score tied at one, both Vincent and Northcott settled in on the mound, trading scoreless innings until the bottom of the fifth when the Cardinals broke things open with a two-out rally that would decide the game.

With one out in the inning, Vincent fooled Cochranton’s Robert Boozer on a breaking ball in the dirt, but the third strike skipped away from Bellardo, and Boozer was able to reach first without a throw. Vincent struck out the next batter, but allowed a double and a walk in the next two at-bats to set up Northcott, who cleared the bases with a double to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game.

An infield single from Staudt scored Northcott, and Peterson drove home another on a double in the gap to make it a 6-1 Cochranton lead after five.

Northcott plated two more on a single in the bottom of the sixth, and Ike couldn’t find an answer.

“I told the kids before the season that I thought we had a good team,” said Jon Vincent. “I’m proud of my guys and I’m happy we made it here. I just wish we could have sent the seniors home with a championship.”

Casey Vincent worked six innings on the mound for Eisenhower, allowing two earned runs while racking up seven strikeouts. Vincent and Bellardo accounted for the Knights’ only two hits of the game.

Eisenhower’s win in the D10 semifinals was the school’s first baseball playoff win since 2004, when the Knights won the District 10 title.

District 10 Class A baseball championship

At Slippery Rock University

EISENHOWER (1): ab-r-h-rbi: Cantrell, 2b, 3-1-0-0, Vincent, p, 3-0-1-0, Hunt, ss, 3-0-0-0, Williams, 1b, 3-0-0-0, Bellardo, c, 3-0-1-0, Lundmark, rf, 3-0-0-0, Fedorchuk, cf, 2-0-0-0, Spencer, dh, 3-0-0-0, Jackson, 3b, 0-0-0-0, Arford, lf, 2-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-2-0.

COCHRANTON (8): Mowris, 2b, 4-2-2-0, A. Nageotte, ss, 2-1-1-0, Northcott, p, 4-1-2-5, Staudt, cf, 4-2-1-1, Peterson, c, 3-0-3-1, C. Nageotte, 3b, 3-0-0-0, Wagner, 1b, 3-0-0-0, Boozer, dh, 2-2-0-0, Woolstrum, rf, 0-0-0-0, Yarnell, lf, 3-0-1-0. Totals 28-8-10-7.

Eisenhower 100 000 0 – 1 2 2

Cochranton 010 052 x – 8 10 3

2b-Northcott (C), Peterson (C), Mowris (C). WP-Northcott. LP-Vincent.

Pitching (ip-h-er-r-bb-k): E-Vincent, 6-10-2-8-4-7; C-Northcott, 7-2-0-1-0-9.