Pitchers Bupp, Vincent lead Warren, Ike into D10 semifinal playoff games

Cody Vincent and Mark Bupp each set three goals for their teams at the beginning of the season.

Both coaches – Vincent of Eisenhower baseball and Bupp of Warren softball – were looking for a District 10 Championship after losing in their respective finals a year ago.

The road to redemption begins Thursday for both teams, as the Lady Dragons face Corry at 1 p.m. at Penn State Behrend and the Knights take on Rocky Grove at 6:30 p.m. at Northwestern High School.

Ike enters the postseason with a record of 7-7 – the last time Ike finished .500 was 2004 in Knights coach Cody Vincent’s senior season. Eisenhower will now start sophomore ace Casey Vincent, Cody’s little brother, against the Orioles. Vincent’s 5-0 record on the hill might be his most important stat, but it’s just one notch on the belt of the already accomplished righthander.

In his five starts this season, Vincent has thrown two no-hitters, two one-hitters, and didn’t allow an earned run until May 12 in a win over Youngsville. He has 64 strikeouts and a 0.19 earned run average (one run) in 35 1/3 innings pitched. Logan Bellardo has Ike’s other two wins on the mound, while Kyle Hunt and Shane Arford are also available to throw.

The Knights are led at the plate by Hunt (.477), Vincent (.432), and Bellardo (.354). Freshman Chase Elmquist has hit .353 since taking over designated hitter duties midway through the season.

“We had three goals: finish .500, make the playoffs, and win a district championship. As of now we have a good chance,” said Vincent. “We saw (Rocky Grove) in the first round last year. They weren’t afraid to swing the bat. They didn’t hit anything hard, but they took good hacks.”

The Knights are looking to repeat last year’s success against the Orioles and return to the Class A title game against either Lakeview or Union City.

For Warren – and more specifically, the senior class – the postseason is familiar territory. The Lady Dragons have advanced to the District 10 final each of the past three years only to have their season end at the hands of Region 7-rival Fort LeBoeuf.

According to coach Bupp, the Lady Dragons are set on leaving the past behind this time around.

“Our focus is on the goals we set at the beginning of the year, and we’re working towards trying to achieve those,” said Bupp, whose team enters the playoffs with a 17-1 overall record. “We wanted to win a region title – which we were able to do – win a District 10 title, and get into the state playoffs.”

Corry is the second-place team out of Region 6 with a record of 15-4, which includes a 4-0 loss to Warren on April 19. Alexa Bupp threw a seven inning one-hitter in with nine strikeouts to earn the win in that game.

Bupp has been masterful in the circle all year, compiling a record of 11-1 with a 0.48 earned run average for the Lady Dragons. Meghan Loutzenhiser has proven to be a more-than-capable second option with a 5-0 record and a 2.66 ERA in her five starts.

Offensively, it’s hard to get much better than the top of Warren’s lineup. Leadoff hitter Kaitlin Ishman is hitting .509 on the year with 11 home runs, Kennedy Walter is hitting .290 in the two-spot, Bupp is hitting .441 with a pair of homers, Paige Wilson leads the team with a .615 average to go along with 22 RBI and five home runs, and Loutzenhiser has 25 RBI and two home runs with a .500 average.

Those five, along with the bottom half of a lineup that includes Megan Wortman (.404) and Lauren Frazier (.312) have helped the Lady Dragons outscore their opponents 165-19 this season.

The winner of Warren-Corry advances to play either Hickory or Fort LeBoeuf in the Class AAA softball final.

Here is Thursday’s schedule of Class A baseball games and Class AAA softball games:

District 10 baseball playoffs

Class A Semifinals

Thursday

At Northwestern High School

Lakeview vs. Union City, 4 p.m.

Eisenhower vs. Rocky Grove, 6:30 p.m.

District 10 softball playoffs

Class AAA Semifinals

Thursday

At Penn State Behrend

Warren vs. Corry, 1 p.m.

Hickory vs. Fort LeBoeuf, 3 p.m.