The Catholic League's first trip to the PIAA state baseball playoffs was successful yesterday as St. Joseph's Prep and Neumann-Goretti each posted opening-round victories.
Prep scored the first four runs of the game and held on to eliminate Garnet Valley, 4-3, at La Salle University. Catcher Ray Toto doubled in the Hawks' second run, and Jeff Lynch followed with a two-run single in the fifth inning.
Toto ended the game by throwing out a runner trying to steal second after the Jaguars had scored a run to close the gap to 4-3. Kyle Mullen struck out nine in a complete-game effort.
West Chester East will be St Joseph's Prep's quarterfinal opponent Thursday after beating Warwick, 6-1, at Spring-Ford.
Senior righthander Jay Lynch scattered six hits and fanned seven to get the win, and Chase Miller provided four RBIs, including a two-run single in the first inning.
Zach Mouton poked three hits and scored twice, and Justin Leeson chipped in with two hits and two RBIs for the Vikings.
Also in Class AAAA, North Penn, the No. 5 seed from District 1, stunned District 3 winner Chambersburg, 6-0, as Eric Ruth struck out 16 batters in a four-hit shutout at Hershey.
Robbie Zinsmeister (three RBIs) and Matt Albaugh (two RBIs) each contributed a double and a home run to the Knights' 11-hit attack.
Class AAA. Neumann-Goretti fashioned a four-run eighth inning and defeated District 11 champion Blue Mountain, 8-4, at Pine Grove.
Junior Al Baur pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts, but gave up a tying two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
In the eighth, sophomore Dom Riverso doubled in two runs, Marty Venafro brought in a run with a fielder's choice, and Reno Regalbuto singled in the final run. Baur struck out two in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.
Kevin Neufer's RBI single over third base with one out in the ninth inning drove in Greg McCuch and gave Upper Merion a 4-3 victory over Palmyra at Radnor.
Pat McCaughey knocked in a fourth-inning run for the Vikings, James O'Toole and Chris Baker drove in runs in the fifth, and Ben Dworecki got the win with two innings in relief of McCuch.
Class AA. After giving up three runs and the lead in the top of the seventh, New Hope-Solebury rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning and ousted District 11 champ Pine Grove, 10-9, at Perkiomen Valley.
In the Lions' seventh, Marco Maltese and Jim Donahue scored on Brad Lampson's one-out single, tying the game. Lampson, who had tripled earlier in the game, stole second and third, and scored on a single by sophomore Matt Wilson (3 for 4, two RBIs).
District 12's representatives, Kennedy-Kenrick and Esperanza, each suffered first-round losses.
Tulpehocken defeated Kennedy-Kenrick, 8-1, at La Salle University, and Esperanza dropped a 17-2 verdict to Brandywine Heights at Ephrata.
Teofilo Bonilla doubled and Carlos Rodriguez singled for Esperanza's only hits in the three-inning matchup.
Class A. Ryan Seiz launched a bases-empty home run in the first inning to give Christopher Dock a brief lead, but the Pioneers were beaten by District 11 winner William Valley, 7-2, at Pine Grove.
Williams Valley's Tyler Herb struck out a dozen batters and also homered.