Abington Heights was less than three innings away from its fourth trip to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state baseball semifinals Thursday when Manheim Central’s offense finally broke loose.
The Barons, held to one hit through four scoreless innings by starter Cole Vida, wound up getting to six Comets pitchers and the Abington Heights defense for a pair of four-run innings and an 8-1 victory in a Class 5A quarterfinal at DeSales University in Center Valley.
Manheim Central moved ahead in the top of the fifth inning and broke the game open in the seventh.
Abington Heights never did solve Manheim Central starter Conner Rohrer, who struck out 16 and did not allow an earned run in a two-hitter. He walked just one and retired the batter on which he reached the 105-pitch playoff lineup, allowing Rohrer to complete the game. By pitch limitation rules, Rohrer would not have been allowed to pitch to another batter.
The Comets took the lead in the bottom of the first without a hit and held the 1-0 lead until the top of the fifth.
Michael Show’s base running helped Abington Heights manufacture a run with two outs.
Show was hit by a 1-2 pitch. He then went from first to third on an infield error with Scott Gilbert batting and made it home on a passed ball.
The Comets got their only two hits back-to-back on singles by Colin Davis and Matt Show, the top two hitters in the order, with one out in the third. They advanced to second and third on a flyout, but were stranded there in the team’s last scoring threat.
Rohrer retired 14 of the last 15 batters, including 10 by strikeout. After a leadoff walk in the sixth, he struck out two in each of the last two innings while retiring the last six.
Vida struck out nine and walked three while giving up just two unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The Comets committed four errors.
Abington Heights finished 14-7.
The Comets had a seven-game winning streak broken with the season-ending loss. They used the streak to win the Lackawanna League Division 1 title after being in second place late in the season, then won the District 2-4 Class 5A Subregional title despite being the sixth seed in an eight-team tournament.
The seven-game streak included four road and one neutral field game.