By Scott Huff
The PIAA District One baseball playoffs will continue this week, and there will be four Suburban One League teams left competing.
There are three classifications of teams remaining – two teams that are competing for a District One Quad-A title, a team that is competing for a District One Class AAA title, and a team that is hopeful of an invitation to the PIAA state tournament as a #5 seed.
Both Pennridge and Council Rock North are the Quad-A schools with hopes of a District One title. Both secured automatic bids to the state tournament by advancing to the semifinal rounds as the Rams defeated Conestoga, 7-5, and the Indians rallied to defeat Owen J Roberts, 11-8.
Upper Merion has been the surprise of the Class AAA field as the Vikings have sailed to the district finals against Kennett. There is only one team to gain a state berth and UM would have to beat Kennett to continue its season.
North Penn led 5-2 early in the game, but the Knights lost the lead and their hopes for a district title in a 6-5 loss. North Penn will be in a ‘play back’ situation, and a pair of Knight wins would earn them a slot in the state tournament.
Pennridge (N 2) vs West Chester East (S 1) @ Boyertown – 4 p.m. on Tuesday (5/26)
Pennridge continued its march toward a district title with wins over Boyertown and Conestoga in the friendly confines of First Federal Savings Bank Field on Second Street in Perkasie.
The Rams will now take their act on the road, as West Chester East will be their District One semifinal opponent. East has beaten both Norristown and North Penn on its road to the semifinals.
“We’re this close to a district title, there is no reason to stop now,” said Pennridge head coach Tom Nuneviller. “West Chester East has three quality pitchers, and we’re going to have our work cut out for us.
“(North Penn coach) Bob McCreary gave me a little scouting report on them,” said Nuneviller. “We just need to make contact and put the ball in play.”
Pennridge will send junior Kyle Myers to the hill against WCE.
“Both Kyle and Jared (Schaffer) have done a good job all season for us,” said Nuneviller. “It’s Kyle turn on Tuesday, and we expect him to keep us in the ballgame.”
Win or lose, Pennridge will have a game on Thursday. A win would be for the District One title against the winner of the Council Rock North-Garnet Valley game, a loss would be for the third seed in District One against the loser of the CR North-Garnet Valley game.
Council Rock North (N 3) vs. Garnet Valley (S 8) @ Spring-Ford 4 p.m. on Tuesday (5/26).
Council Rock North will face off against the longest shot in the Quad-A tournament in Garnet Valley. Garnett Valley has beaten Souderton, Council Rock South, and Great Valley. Rock North has bested both Methacton and Owen J Roberts.
“Any team you play at this point in the playoffs is playing good baseball,” said Council Rock North head coach Dan Kusters. “We have to come into this game mentally prepared to play, and continue to get contributions from the entire team.
“We finished our season 11-3 and played a couple of good games in the playoffs,” added Kusters. “I think we have shown people that we belong in the playoffs.”
The Indians will throw ace Scott Runzer against Garnet Valley.
Win or lose, Rock North will have a game on Thursday. A win would put the Indians in the district final against the winner of the Pennridge-West Chester East game. A loss would mean that Rock North would play the loser of the Pennridge-West Chester East game for the third seed from District One.
Upper Merion (7) vs. Kennett (4) @ Sun Valley 4 p.m. on Wednesday (5/27).
The Vikings barely received an invitation to the playoffs, but Upper Merion has made the most of its invite with wins over both Strath Haven (2) and Upper Perkiomen (6).
“This is a season with no regrets,” said Upper Merion head coach Jason Darnell. “This is as far as any team from Upper Merion has ever gotten, and the players are ecstatic.
“We’ve just gone about our business and prepared for the next game,” added Darnell as the Vikes prepare for the district final. “Right now things seem to be falling into place.”
Upper Merion will throw senior ace Chris Baker against Kennett.
“Chris has been our guy,” said Darnell. “He’s been our ticket all season.”
Baker could be the ticket for the Vikings to get into the state tournament. A loss ends the season for Upper Merion.
North Penn (N 4) vs. Owen J Roberts (S 2) @ Radnor H.S. – 4 p.m. – on Tuesday (5/26).
North Penn will get a second chance at gaining its admission to the state tournament despite a tough late inning loss to West Chester East.
“Our district has a lot of good teams, and the fact that we get five teams keeps our season alive,” said North Penn coach Bob McCreary. “We talked after the loss and tried to keep the players focused and positive.
“We did some good things during the game, and we can’t forget about them,” added McCreary. “We lost the lead, but we still have a game to play.”
North Penn will throw arguably the best pitcher in the area when the Knights have senior Eric Ruth take the mound in the critical elimination game.
“Any time you have the caliber of an Eric Ruth pitching, you are going to have a chance to win the game,” said McCreary. “But he can’t do it alone.”
A win would continue the season for the Knights, while a loss ends the NPHS season.
1. Pennridge Rams
2. Council Rock North Indians
3. Council Rock South Golden Hawks
4. North Penn Knights
5. Truman Tigers
6. Upper Merion Vikings
7. Central Bucks East Patriots
8. Upper Moreland Golden Bears
9. Norristown Eagles
10. Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials
+1 Souderton Indians
+2 Neshaminy Redskins
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