After getting the starting nod a day earlier from Pennridge coach Tom Nuneviller, Trevor Dalton had some anxious moments before Wednesday's PIAA District 1 Class AAAA second-round matchup with Neshaminy.
"I was nervous, but also excited about the chance," the senior lefthander said. "I just knew I had to throw strikes, get them to put the ball in play."
With Dalton allowing only three hits and one run in 42/3 innings, the visiting Rams eliminated the Redskins, 7-1, in Langhorne.
"He did a great job," Nuneviller said. "For him to go out there and get us into the fifth inning, it was a big boost."
Nuneviller turned to Dalton after senior ace Evan Myers pitched 52/3 innings in Monday's first-round triumph over Great Valley.
"I'm glad it was me, because I wanted to help the team out," Dalton said.
In the second inning, after giving up a two-out double to Kyle Skeels and issuing two walks, the 5-foot-9, 140-pounder escaped the jam by inducing a fly ball to left field.
After a two-out fielding error in the third inning, Jake Gordon gave Pennridge a 2-0 lead with a home run over the left-field fence.
Monmouth recruit Justin Andrews, a top lefthander, was on the hill for Neshaminy.
"That was a little bit intimidating," Dalton said. "But after we started to get some hits, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was easier to go out and pitch my game."
Next for the Rams, the No. 10 seed from the North, is a Friday quarterfinal at sixth-seeded Boyertown. The Bears, of the Pioneer Athletic Conference, ousted West Chester Henderson, the South's No. 3 seed, 5-1, Wednesday.
"Boyertown is Boyertown," Nuneviller said. "It's a hot team, one that is always good with the fundamentals."
Dalton, of Dublin, Bucks County, gave way to sophomore righthander David Tatoian after Andrews' two-out double to left-center in the fifth.
Tatoian surrendered an RBI single to Tom Kreiling and then, after plunking two straight batters, escaped with a 6-3 groundout.
"I would have loved to have finished the inning, but at the same time, I understand the move," said Dalton, who will pitch at Delaware Valley College. "[Tatoian] throws a little harder, and it gave Neshaminy a different look."
In the seventh, with Pennridge (16-6) ahead by 3-1, Tatoian's three-run double to right-center served as the clincher.
The No. 2-seeded Redskins (15-5) committed four errors and left 12 runners on base.
Pennridge 000 201 4 - 7 6 1
Neshaminy 000 010 0 - 1 7 4
WP: Trevor Dalton. LP: Justin Andrews. 2B: P-David Tatoian, Joe Molettiere; N-Andrews, Kyle Skeels. HR: P-Jake Gordon.