NEPA Sports Nation

Improbable comeback sends Warriors into state baseball final

PHOTO: Wyoming Area’s baseball team returned home to ring the bell at the school’s football field, Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium, following Monday’s state semifinal victory.

The groundball had a chance to end Wyoming Area’s most successful baseball season ever.

Casey Noone, leading off second base, still took off from there and did not stop.

Noone’s hustle was rewarded when a Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast infield error gave him time to race home with the second run on the play and the fourth run of the bottom of the seventh, completing Wyoming Area’s improbable rally for a 5-4 victory in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A baseball semifinals at DeSales University.

Wyoming Area, which managed just two hits in the game, was trailing, 4-1, with two out, nobody on and pinch hitter Nathan Novakowski facing an 0-2 count.

The Warriors came back to win without adding another hit.

Novakowski, the last batter faced by starting pitcher Ryan Kearney, worked out a walk.

Kearney reached 106 pitches, forcing him out of the game on pitch limit rules.

Kyle Lazar came on and never did find the strike zone with any consistency. Only 5 of his first 21 pitches went for strikes as four more Warriors walked, forcing in two runs and keeping the bases loaded.

That brought J.J. Hood to the plate with Wyoming Area facing a 4-3 deficit.

Hood hit a grounder to second base on a 1-1 pitch.

When Bonner-Prendie could not record an out, Evan Melberger scored the tying run and Noone followed him across the plate with the winner.

Wyoming Area, which is playing in the first state tournament in school history, will play for the state title Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Penn State against New Castle (18-9).

Melberger and Johnny Morgan had the only Wyoming Area hits.

No Wyoming Area player drew more than one walk, scored more than one run or drove in more than one, but the Warriors pitchers and defense kept them close enough for the District 2 champions to be able to pull out a win when the Bonner-Prendie reliever ran into control problems.

Hood and Hunter Lawall combined to strike out 12 while allowing just three earned runs.

Hood worked five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out seven.

Lawall got the win relief. He struck out five to keep from allowing any runs despite giving up two hits and two walks.

Bonner-Prendie scored three runs in the top of the first and had the bases loaded with none out before Hood bounced back with three straight strikeouts.

Morgan’s hit came during the second inning to help Wyoming Area load the bases. Jack Mathis drew the first of the team’s three bases-loaded walks in the game, driving in the first run.

The Warriors have won eight straight to improve to 14-6.

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