Two teams well familiar with each other will face off in the championship game of the AMCC baseball tournament on Sunday.
Top seed La Roche College and #2 Penn State Behrend have risen to the top of the conference tournament. After splitting a doubleheader in the regular season, the two teams met again on Saturday with La Roche prevailing. Behrend then defeated Pitt-Bradford in the double elimination bracket to set up Sunday's confrontation.
The day started with an elimination game between a pair of first round underdogs. #5 Pitt-Bradford, who upset #4 Pitt-Greensburg in the first round, defeated #6 Mount Aloysius College, first round winners over #3 Penn State Altoona, to set up a late day match up with Behrend.
Pitt-Bradford took control early, scoring four in the first inning, one in the second and three in the third. What looked like a rout took a swift 180 degree turn in the fourth when the Mounties took advantage of some pitching woes and put five across the plate. The teams exchanged runs in the eighth and ninth but the margin remained the same as UPB prevailed, 9-7.
The Panthers got strong efforts from Tim Brown (3 for 4, 2 RBI), Dalton Renn (2 for 4, 2 RBI) and Austin Parent (3 for 5, 1 RBI, 2 runs scored). The Mounties were paced by Dalton Garlock (3 for 5, 1 RBI, 1 run scored), Anthony Rocco (2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 run scored) and Kyle Droz (1 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 run scored and 2 BB). Ryan Boyer (9 K's) got the win and Ryan Northcott the save for UPB. MAC's Tyghe Bowers fell to 4-5 on the season with the loss.
La Roche, three-time defending champion and currently ranked #2 in the Mideast region, gave up four runs in the second with ace Regis Sauer on the mound. The Redhawks proceeded to rev up the offense, scoring twice in the second and then unloading nine in the third to build a 12-4 advantage. After Lions' standout Phil Myers was chased from the game, Behrend ran through 2 more pitchers before securing the third out. The Lions' offense was stymied for the remainder of the day while the Redhawks added two more runs to wrap up a 14-5 decision.
Corey Lazor had a monster game, going 5 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI for the Redhawks. Luis Navedo went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and Joe Professori was 2 for 4 with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored. Regis Sauer boosted his record to 9-0. For the Lions, Scott Sada was 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 1 run scored and Ryan Hamm was 4 for 4 with 1 run scored. Myers suffered just his second loss of the season.
Behrend came back in the third game of the day, defeating Pitt-Bradford, 5-4, in dramatic fashion. Behrend, with five AMCC trophies on their shelf, built a 4-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. But with two men on, Brown crushed one over the fence and tied the game. The Lions responded by sending Hamm to third for a stolen base who then scored on a sacrifice fly by Holden Stevanus. Scott Sada, in relief, retired the Panthers in the ninth to earn the win.
First pitch Sunday is 10am. If needed, a tiebreak game will be played 30 minutes following the conclusion of the 10am game. The tournament winner will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.