STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Andrew Czachor wasn’t expected to take the mound so early, but the Devon Prep senior righthander was clearly ready for the assignment.
Called in to pitch with the Tide trailing, 2-0, and with just one out in the top of the first inning, Czachor provided the type of big-game performance that has defined his season.
Headed to Division 1 High Point, Czachor didn’t allow a run in 6⅔ shutout innings as Devon Prep defeated Serra Catholic, 3-2, in Friday’s PIAA Class 2A state championship at Penn State’s Medlar Field.
It was the second state title for Devon Prep (12-13), which also won in 2014. The Tide’s record was a product of their difficult schedule, which included this first season in the Philadelphia Catholic League. But it paid dividends during the postseason. Serra Catholic ended 23-4.
Czachor allowed three hits and struck out 10, while walking one and throwing 85 pitches.
“I was a little surprised I got the call so early,” said Czachor, who ended this season 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
Czachor doesn’t start many games, but he often is inserted to put out some fires. He went in from playing shortstop on Friday and hadn’t warmed up.
“I don’t need a lot of time for my arm to get ready,” he said.
Devon Prep sophomore lefthander Tommy Kent was lifted after retiring one of five batters and allowing the two runs in that opening inning. The first run scored on a single and an error, while the second came on Nico Eremic’s RBI single.
“Tommy has a Division I [college] arm and will be a Division 1 pitcher,” Devon Prep coach Mark Aquilante said. But the coach said he needed to make a change to halt the Serra rally.
Can you ask for a better performance than Czachor’s
“You can’t,” Aquilante said.
With Czachor holding Serra Catholic in check, the Tide took the lead with single runs in the first three innings. Aaron Nuble led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on Czachor’s sacrifice fly to center.
In the second, Jack Eshleman reached second on a two-base error, was sacrificed to third by Eamonn Walsh and scored on Matt Romano’s RBI bunt that pitcher Alex Glumac fielded and had only one play to first.
Glumac (10-3) was lifted after Jackson Jonik’s RBI double gave Devon Prep a 3-2 lead with nobody out in the third inning. He was replaced by lefthander Logan Exler, who threw four shutout innings.
“It was a fastball a little bit on the inner half of the plate,” Jonik said of his double. “After seeing pitches my prior at-bat, I was able to sit on it and drive it.”
Serra Catholic rallied in the seventh when Jayden Mertz hit a two-out double. Dangerous catcher Mark Black was intentionally walked. The game then ended when Glumac grounded out to Czachor.
That ended a strong postseason, for Czachor. In the Tide’s 3-1 semifinal win over South Williamsport, Czachor pitched four innings of hitless relief, striking out nine. He then ended his career in style.
“It’s crazy. Nobody would expect to win his last high school game in a state championship,” Czachor said. “It is all I could ask for.”
Serra Catholic 200 000 0 - 2 5 2
Devon Prep 111 000 x - 3 5 1
WP: Andrew Czachor. LP: Alex Glumac