Marian holds off NDES
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Marian's Dylan Latham steals second base as Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg's Tarek Christen covers. Marian picked up a 5-3 win to advance to Thursday's District 11 A semis.
For a moment, Marian head baseball coach Jeff Nietz must have thought he was seeing a little deja vu.
Over the course of the regular season, the Colts struggled at times to hold on to leads in sixth and seventh innings.
In Tuesday's District 11 Class A quarterfinal against Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg, Marian watched the Spartans make it interesting but a quick double play and a strikeout swinging in the top of the seventh gave the Colts a 5-3 win.
The victory moves Marian (12-9) into Thursday's semifinal against No. 1 seed Tri-Valley in a 7 p.m. game at Pine Grove.
Marian held a 5-1 lead when Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg (10-11) came up for its last at bat. And the Spartans didn't go away quietly.
Matt Traino hit a leadoff double to the gap in left-center and then moved up to third when a pickoff attempt was thrown into centerfield. Joe Luzzi walked to put runners on the corners and Oscar Dudzinski's RBI single scored Traino.
Nietz went to his bullpen and brought in freshman Kyle Rodgers to relieve sophomore starter Logan Mehalshick with the tying run at the plate and no out.
Scott Wishauer singled to center and scored Luzzi to make it 5-3.
With Paul Doherty at the plate, Dudzinski came too far down the line and Marian catcher Frank Nietz rifled the ball down to Jonathan Sullivan who tagged him out and then quickly fired the ball to Dylan Lathan at second who nailed Wishauer trying to steal for a double play.
Doherty eventually singled, but Tarik Cristen struck out to end the game.
"That was key," said Nietz afterwards. "You hard me say to the kids 'you could have gotten down when things went bad'. They (the Spartans) had guys on first and second, already had one run in during the inning and no outs and we come up with a big, big play there. It was just fantastic the way we kept our composure even though they put pressure on us to make a mistake."
The key for the Colts was the way they jumped on the Spartans early to take the lead with a four-run first after Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning.
Frank Nietz hit a one-out single and scored on a double by Sullivan. With two outs, Zack Motil walked setting up a Brendan McGowan two-run double. McGowan scored when Ron Kosar reached safely on an infield error.
"In our mindset we wanted to come out and jump on them early because they're a pesky team," said Nietz. "We knew they are talented and knew they were going to come out and play good baseball.
The Colts added an insurance run in the fourth when Latham singled, stole second and scored on a single by Mike Cataldo.
"We couldn't ask for anything more from Logan (Mehalshick)," said Nietz. "He's a sophomore we brought up at the end of the year and we threw it at him last night that we knew he was ready so he should be ready inside. He threw a great game for us today, just couldn't get that last inning out of him but Kyle (Rodgers) came in pulled us through.
"What we look at now is one game at a time. Tri-Valley hits up and down the lineup, but in a one-game series, anything can happen."
Sullivan had two doubles and Latham had two singles to lead the Colts. Traino had two doubles, while Dudzinski and Wishauer had two singles each.
NDES 100 000 2 - 3 9 1
Marian 400 100 x - 5 7 2
Lewsi and Luzzi; Mehalshick, Rodgers (7) and Nietz. W - Mehalshick. L - Lewis.