Marian blanked by Williams Valley
Marian first baseman Brandon Cann stretches to take the throw and get an out on Williams Valley’s Bronson Kelly. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
POTTSVILLE — Williams Valley pitcher Mason Evans picked the perfect time for his best game of the season.
Marian picked the wrong time for one of its worst games of the season.
The result was a 5-0 Vikings victory in the District 11 Class 2A semifinals on Sunday.
For the Colts, who entered the contest averaging 7.9 runs a game and hadn’t been shut out all season, it was a disappointing end to another successful season.
“Just a combination of everything,” said Marian coach Tony Radocha when explaining what went wrong. “We weren’t sharp on the mound, we struggled in the field, and we just weren’t able to barrel up the ball offensively.
“Hats off to Williams Valley. They are a really good team, and they did what good teams do — they took advantage of our mistakes. They did it offensively, and their pitchers did it as well.”
Williams Valley (16-6) had just two hits in the first two innings, but scored four runs – all of them unearned.
An error, a hit batsman, and a two-out single by Jake Herman gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead in the first.
In the second, a single, two walks, and three infield errors produced three more Williams Valley runs that made it 4-0.
“You can’t give a good team extra outs, and that’s exactly what we did the first two innings,” Radocha said.
Marian (16-7) had several opportunities to dig itself out of the early hole, but failed time and again to get a clutch hit.
The Colts had runners on first and second and less than two outs with the top of the order up in the third, fifth and seventh innings, but went 0-for-8 in those situations.
“We just couldn’t seize the opportunities we were given,” Radocha said. “We were able to get a couple runners on base several times, but the lack of timely hitting really hurt us.
“One bad inning in the field and no clutch hits when we needed them. That was the story of the game.”
Evans worked five-and-a-third innings for the Vikings, striking out three and allowing just two hits. He was able to pitch his way around six walks. Viking ace Tyler Yuslum relived in the sixth and closed out the win.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from Mason,” said Williams Valley coach Steve Barner. “That was his best performance of the season. Marian is a very good offensive team, and to shut them down like he did took an outstanding effort.
“He made some big pitches when he needed to, and our defense made all the plays behind him.”
After capturing back-to-back District 11 titles in 2016 and 2017, the Colts have come up short the last two seasons, falling in the D-11 title game a year ago and the semis this season.
“We had a lot of new faces in our starting lineup this season, so I really didn’t know what to expect at the start of the season,” Radocha said. “But I think our program is at the point where we always expect to play meaningful games in May and be in the hunt for Schuylkill League and District 11 championships.
“So even though it was nice to win 16 games and capture the Schuylkill League Division 3 title, I think we are all disappointed how we ended the season (semifinal losses in leagues and districts). The last two seasons we’ve been close … next year our goal is to get back to that championship level.”
LAYOFF … “You hate to make excuses, but we obviously weren’t as sharp offensively or defensively as we have been most of the season,” Radocha said. “We haven’t played a game in nearly two weeks and I think that showed. It’s tough to stay game-sharp that long. No matter what you do in practice, it’s hard to recreate game conditions.”
HITS … Aaron Mason and Mason Fristick both had two hits for Marian. The Colts only other hit was a pinch single by Colin Eisenhower.
DELAY … The game was delayed 46 minutes by thunder and rain prior to the fourth inning.
SENIORS … Radocha praised the five seniors who played their final game for the Colts — Fristick, Eisenhower, Matt Doherty, Quest Wilson and Brandon Cann.
Williams Vy. 130 010 0 - 5 8 0
Marian 000 000 0 - 0 5 4
Evans, Yuslum (6) and Engle; Kubishin, Derr (4) and Rickert. W - Evans. L - Kubishin.