A team that lost its first seven games of the season is now one of the last eight standing in Pennsylvania Class 3A baseball.
Scranton Prep continued its postseason surge Monday when it produced 6 extra-base hits among its 11 total hits in an 11-3 romp over District 11 champion Palisades at Saucon Valley High School in Hellertown to open the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament.
The Cavaliers advanced into the quarterfinals where they make another trip to the Lehigh Valley to face District 3 champion Oley Valley, a 9-3 winner over String Theory, in a 2:30 game Thursday at DeSales University.
Scranton Prep reached the state tournament as the second-place finisher in District 2. The loss to Lake-Lehman, another team still alive in the quarterfinals, was the only the second by the Cavaliers (7-12) since a 1-10 start.
After averaging just 4.3 runs per game and batting .227 in the first nine games, the Cavaliers have doubled their offensive output in the second half of the season. Scranton Prep is batting .353 as a team and averaging 8.6 runs in its last 10 games.
The hits came from all over the lineup Monday.
Eight of the nine players in the order had at least one hit with Andrew Durkin, Vito Gianello and Rocco Valvano providing two each.
Durkin and Ethan Muha drove in three runs each.
Muha had a two-run double in the top of the first to open the scoring and the Cavaliers never let that lead get away.
Durkin had a two-run single and solo homer during a stretch when Scranton Prep scored three runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth.
The Cavaliers opened the lead to 7-1, then immediately responded to Palisades scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth with their final runs in the sixth inning.
Valvano had a triple. Gianello, Noah Sorensen, Brian Walsh and Muha had doubles.
Sorensen drove in two runs while Durkin’s big day offensively included two runs scored.
Walsh went the distance on the mound. He allowed three runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven.
The sophomore right-hander has started the last three playoff games, working at least six innings each game while going 2-1 with a 2.58 earned run average. He has struck out 21 and walked 6 during that time while facing Holy Redeemer, Lake-Lehman and Palisades, teams with combined records of 44-15.