By Chris Rossetti
DUBOIS, Pa. – Christian Fedko’s bloop double in the top of the 13th gave Vincentian Academy a 4-3 win over DuBois Central Catholic in the opening round of the PIAA Class A Baseball playoffs at Showers Field in DuBois.
“We had our chances, they had their chances, what can you say? It ended too soon,” DuBois Central Catholic manager Andy Sayers said. “I think we ran out of a little bit of steam there at the end. That’s the best team we’ve played all year, and we hung right with them. We played them in a doubleheader and came up a run short.”
DCC twice fended off elimination scoring with two outs in the seventh to tie the game at two and then scoring with one out in the ninth to tie the game at three.
“I credit the kids,” Sayers said. “They fought back. They came back several times. They picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and really came back.”
Vincentian, the third-place team out of the WPIAL, led 2-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before finally taking the lead for good in the 13th when James Seskey singled to left with one out, Mark YaKim hit into a fielder’s choice with Seskey out at second, Aiden Thompson walked and Fedko blooped a double into left just in front of a diving leftfielder, Brandon Walker.
DCC tried to get one more rally going when Michael Misiewicz, who had been key in the first two game-tying rallies, reached on an error by Fedko, who made a handful of great plays at shortstop, with two outs in the bottom of the 13th. But Justin Miknis grounded out to second to end the game.
Fedko was the only reason Vincentian had a chance to win the game, as his diving stop on a one-out grounder by Ty Bittner with the infield in two batters after DCC had tied the game in the ninth held Justin Miknis, who was not going on contact, at third.
“I told (Justin) to hold,” Sayers said. “I wanted him to make sure it got through. It’s the way we play. If the infield is in and there are less than two outs (we don’t go on contact). I don’t know, he probably would have been out at home. The kid has a rifle.”
DCC had a chance to win the game in the 10th when Walker walked leading off the inning and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Cogley. But Walker got picked off second on an inside move by Thompson, the second of three pitchers for Vincentian Academy.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, the Cardinals tied the game when Misiewicz singled to right with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored when Jack Frank beat out an infield single to second that second baseman Kyler Fedko made a nice play on to keep the ball in the infield.
That single ended the day for Vincentian starter Mark Cyterski, who pitched well going 6 ⅔ innings allowing two runs on eight hits, a walk and eight strikeouts.
Thompson relieved, and Jake Miknis, who started for DCC, laced a single to left to put the winning run at second. A wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet, but Bittner hit a comebacker to the mound to send the game to extra innings.
In the ninth, Vincentian took the lead Thompson led off with a single, stole second and scored on a one-out single to center by Cyterski.
DCC answered in the bottom of the ninth when Misiewicz drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double to the right-center gap by Justin Miknis.
The Cardinals then moved Justin Miknis to third on a Frank sacrifice bunt, before Vincentian intentionally walked Jake Miknis. That brought up Bittner, who laced a ball that looked like it would drive in the winning run until Fedko made the great play on it.
“Fedko made a hell of play on that ball or we win,” Sayers said.
Vincentian got its first two runs in the first inning after DCC failed to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play.
After back-to-back singles by Cyterski and Kyler Fedko put runners on first and second, Garret Barto hit a grounder to short that shortstop Nick Szczerba flipped to Misiewicz, the second baseman, for the forceout at second. But while Misiewicz throw to first would have beaten Barto, it was wide of the mark.
The Royal made DCC pay for not turning the double play, when winning pitcher Nick Kempa single to right, and Anthony Milicia singled to left making it 2-0.
“We had one shaky first inning,” Sayers said. “Really, the game should have been 1-0 in regulation as far as I’m concerned.”
DCC got one of the runs back in the fourth on an infield single by Bittner and back-to-back singles by Grecco and Walker with Bittner scoring when Thompson, playing rightfield at the time, bobbled the Walker single.
Jake Miknis pitched well in getting a no-decision. He went 6 ⅔ innings allowing two runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out two in his final high-school game.
Szczerba relieved with two outs in the seventh and a runner on first and ended up the losing pitcher despite giving up just two runs on four hits, four walks and two hit batters while striking out four in 6 ⅓ innings of work just four days after throwing a complete-game in the District 9 title game, a 2-1 DCC win over Oswayo Valley.
“Jake and Nick each pitched (full) games, essentially, today with Nick on fairly short rest,” Sayers said. “I’m so proud of them.”
Kempa got the win going two innings, hitting a batter but not allowing a hit or walk.
Thompson pitched 4 ⅓ innings in relief allowing one run on three hits and four walks while striking out three,
“I appreciate our fans and everything they’ve done,” Sayers said. “It was a great season. I think Central baseball is back on the map.”
Vincentian moves into the PIAA quarterfinals Thursday where it will play Southern Fulton, a 6-3 winner over Greensburg Central Catholic.
VINCENTIAN ACADEMY 4, DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC 3, 13 INNINGS
Score by Innings
Vincentian 200 000 001 000 1 – 4
DuBois CC 000 100 101 000 0 – 3
Vincentian Academy – 4
Player, Pos, AB, R, H, RBIs
Christian Fedko ss 6011, Mark Cyterski p/rf 6021, James Lutz cr/pr 0100, Ryan Bicket pr 0000, Kyler Fedko 2b 7030, Garret Barto 3b 6120, Nick Kempa 1b/p 4021, Anthony Milicia dh 6011, Thomas Quinton cf 0000, James Seskey lf 5010, Mark YaKim c 5100, Aidan Thompson rf/p/3b 4110. Totals 48-4-13-4
DuBois Central Catholic – 3
Player, Pos, AB, R, H, RBIs
Justin Miknis c 6021, Jack Frank 3b 5011, Jake Miknis p 5020, Ty Bittner rf 5110, Thomas Grecco 1b 6020, Brandon Walker lf 3010, Austin Cogley cf 4000, Nick Szczerba 6010, Michael Misiewicz 5210. Totals 44-3-11.
LOB – Vincentian Academy X. DCC X. Errors – Vincentian Academy: Thompson. DP -Vincentian Academy 1 DCC 1 DCC: X. 2B – Vincentian Academy: K. Fedko. SB – Vincentian Academy: K. Fedko, Seskey, Thompson.CS – Vincentian Academy: Bickert. SAC – Vincentian Academy: YaKim. DCC: Cogley (2).
Mark Cyterski – 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Aiden Thompson – 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K
Nick Kempa – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP
DuBois Central Catholic
Jake Miknis – 6.2 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Nick Szczerba 6.1 IP, 4 H. 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 HBP
Winning pitcher: Nick Kempa
Losing pitcher: Nick Szczerba