The PIAA playoff road ended for the Neumann-Goretti baseball team yesterday when Abington Heights defeated the Saints, 9-4, in a State Class AAA semifinal at Wenger Field, in Fredricksburg.
The victory sent Abington Heights, the District 2 champion, into Friday's championship game against Chartiers Valley, the District 7 runner-up. Chartiers Valley topped Bellefonte, 3-1, yesterday in the other semifinal.
The defeat ended an impressive playoff run for the Saints. Neumann-Goretti, the District 12 champion, advanced to yesterday's game with state tournament victories over Twin Valley and Blue Mountain in the earlier rounds.
The Saints got off the a good start yesterday, taking a 1-0 lead behind starting pitcher Al Baur. But the Comets (19-3), who entered the game having scored 57 runs in the six playoff games, exploded for four runs in the bottom of the second.
Neumann-Goretti (20-4) added another run to cut the deficit to 4-2 in the top of the third inning.
But Abington Heights hit for power and distance by knocking out five doubles and adding two runs in both the fourth and sixth innings.
Baur was 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Dom Riverso was 2 for 3 with a run scored for Neumann-Goretti. Nicky Nardini was 1 for 2 with an RBI double.
The defeat was the first of the season for Baur. He entered the game with a record of 8-0 and an ERA of 1.70.
Neumann-Goretti 011 002 0 - 4 8 4
Abington Heights 040 212 x - 9 13 1
WP: Mike Burke; LP: Al Baur.