Eagles fall in D10 Class A semifinals
MEADVILLE — All good things must come to an end.
It’s cliche, but rings true all the same.
The Youngsville baseball season came to a close on Thursday with a 10-3 loss to West Middlesex (13-9) in the District 10 Class A semifinals at Allegheny College.
Facing it’s toughest test of the year — the Big Reds were the D-10 Class AA champions a season ago — Youngsville coach Eddie Dorunda knew his team would have to be near flawless in its execution. Instead, the Eagles committed seven errors that proved too much to overcome.
“Going into that game, I knew we had to play perfect baseball in the field to give ourselves a chance,” said Dorunda. “They are a team that capitalizes on any extra outs you give them and we gave them several. That’s baseball though. It wasn’t due to lack of effort, that’s for sure.”
While the Eagles (16-5) would ultimately gift runs to the Big Reds throughout the game, it was the bat of center fielder Julian Trott that got West Middlesex on the board early. Trott blasted a triple on the first pitch he saw from Eagles starter Nathan Lucks and eventually scored on a passed ball to make it 1-0 early.
One inning later, the Big Reds added three runs to their lead, scoring all three tallies after the second out of the inning was recorded. Tyler Blanton had an RBI single to score Kyle Gilson, but again it was Trott who did the most damage, bringing home two more runs and making it 4-0 with his second triple of the game.
Youngsville got one run back in the top of the third thanks to West Middlesex’s only error of the game and the speed of Matt DeSimone. DeSimone hit a ball to center that was misplayed and eventually rolled all the way to the fence. That was all DeSimone needed to race around the bases and score to cut the lead to 4-1.
The Eagles put up their first zero of the game in the bottom of the third, but the team’s bats remained quiet during subsequent trips to the plate. Meanwhile, the Big Reds began to distance themselves on the scoreboard as the Eagles’ mistakes piled up.
Evan Gilson scored to make it 5-1 on a balk in the bottom of the fourth and the fifth inning was especially disastrous for the local team. Youngsville committed three errors in the fifth inning alone, leading to four more West Middlesex runs and a 9-1 game heading into the sixth.
The Big Reds nearly ended the game via the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth, getting a run on a fielder’s choice and loading the bases before Lucks registered a strikeout to ensure Youngsville would go the distance.
In true Eagles fashion, Youngsville battled to the end, making some noise in the top of the seventh inning. Senior Ian Mancuso ended his Youngsville career with a double to the gap and younger brother Aidan Mancuso was hit by a pitch.
Two batters later, another senior — Ethan Senz — was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Ian Mancuso scored on DeSimone’s sacrifice fly to make it 10-2. James Johnson followed with an RBI single that plated Aidan Mancuso and closed the scoring at 10-3.
During Lucks’ at-bat, a passed ball went to the backstop and Senz broke for home. However, a fortuitous bounce for the Big Reds helped them get the speedy senior at the plate for the third out to end the game.
Five different players — DeSimone, Johnson, Lucks, Keegan Mesel and Ian Mancuso — accounted for the teams five hits. Lucks struck out eight and threw more than 100 pitches, pitching on three day’s rest.
Despite the loss to end the season, Dorunda has nothing but positive memories to take from the 2023 campaign.
“I love these boys,” he said. “They played hard for us coaches all year long. Hats off to Ian, Ethan and Keegan ending their high school baseball careers with a 16-5 season. We will miss those three next season.”
“That being said, we have a good bulk of the group coming back next year and I am already looking forward to offseason workouts. We’re coming back hungry.”