One win from state playoffs

Youngsville faces West Middlesex in District 10 Class A semifinals today

The Youngsville baseball team is just one win away from an appearance in the District 10 Class A championship and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A playoffs.

Standing in the way is a familiar foe — the West Middlesex Big Reds (8-11); the same Big Reds that ended Youngsville’s season a year ago with a 10-3 victory in this same semifinal round.

That contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Allegheny College in Meadville.

“It’s going to be a challenging matchup,” said Youngsville coach Eddie Dorunda whose Eagles enter the game with a record of 15-4. “West Middlesex’s record on paper might have teams underestimating them but I know better than that. I’ll be the first to admit they play in a tougher region than we do. There are some solid ball clubs and pitching depth over in Region 1. Their hitters are going to put the ball in play and it’s going to come down to which team makes the least amount of mistakes.”

Despite those facts, Dorunda has firm belief that his team has grown enough to take that next step during this postseason.

“I have full confidence in our team to take care of business,” said Dorunda. “These seniors have been preparing for this opportunity for the last three and a half years and this core group has played in the playoffs the last two seasons. I know there will be some jitters but we need to play like we’ve been here before and play like we deserve to be in this position.”

West Middlesex features a mostly young lineup with the top four batting averages on the team being led by sophomores and freshmen. Leading the way with a .425 average is freshman Caleb Koncar, followed by sophomore Kyle Gilson with a .377 average, freshman Roman Golub at .327 and sophomore Tyler Blanton at .319.

Gilson leads the team with 20 hits; Blanton has a team-best six doubles and 15 RBIs; and junior Logan Kent has the team’s only home run of the year.

Leading the way on the mound is Gilson, a sophomore left-hander. He went 5-3 this season with a 0.48 ERA racking up 68 strikeouts to only 16 walks. Dorunda expects the Eagles will see some of Gilson today.

“There’s a really good chance we see their ace since he only had to throw 36 pitches on Monday against Cochranton,” he said. “He’s a lefty who locates his fastball in the upper 70s or lower 80s and also has a decent slider that will be coming inside the zone on our hitters.

“I like our chances against him as we’ve seen five or six lefties this season with (Cochranton’s Walker) Carroll and (Cambridge Springs’ Brett) Kania throwing in the 80s. A big key will be our approach at the plate. If we shorten up and put the ball in play and make them field the ball we will give ourselves a great chance to come out on top.”

The Eagles are currently unsure of who will oppose the Big Reds on the mound. Dorunda has plenty of options including senior Nathan Lucks, sophomore David Manning and senior Wyatt Dalrymple.

Lucks leads the team with a 2.03 ERA and a 7-3 record. He has recorded 57 strikeouts to only 19 walks. Dalrymple’s ERA is a solid 2.36 with a perfect 4-0 mark with 26 strikeouts while Manning sits at a 4.72 ERA with a 3-1 record and 26 strikeouts.

“We still haven’t decided on who we’re starting,” said Dorunda. “I think Wyatt, David and Nate are all capable of challenging their hitters and keeping us in this game so it’s a toss up and will probably be determined by whose arm feels the best on game day.”

Senior centerfielder Matt DeSimone leads nearly every offensive statistical category for the Eagles. He batted .582 in 2024 with 39 hits, 30 runs, 26 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples — all the highest marks on the team. One of the few categories he didn’t lead was home runs despite having a pair of his own to teammate Lucks’ four.

Lucks batted .474 with those four homers and 22 RBIs as well as 27 hits, 26 runs and five doubles. James Johnson (.370 average, 27 runs, 20 hits), Manning (.364 average, 20 hits, 19 RBIs) and Talon Mesel (.345 average) are also major offensive threats for the Youngsville club.

The winner of today’s game will face the winner of the second semifinal contest in the championship game Monday. The second semifinal features Region 3 champion Saegertown and Cambridge Springs with a 4:30 p.m. first pitch today at Allegheny College.

A win would assure the Eagles of at least two more games with the top two teams in District 10 advancing to the state playoffs.


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