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SMALL SCHOOL, BIG SUCCESS: DuBois Central Catholic Relishes Having Baseball and Softball Teams Playing for a State Title

DuBOIS, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It is one of the tiniest schools in District 9. There are barely 130 students in the entire high school. There were only 29 in this year’s graduating class.

Yet when it comes to athletics at DuBois Central Catholic, numbers mean little.

It’s a small school with some big ambition.

It’s been a magical spring at DCC. The baseball team rolled through the regular season and scorched its way through the postseason on the way to the PIAA Class A championship game, which will be played Friday morning.

The softball team, too, marched through the season with a purpose. In the playoffs, the Cardinals beat all comers, including ending defending Class A state champion Beaver’s 42-game winning streak in the semifinals to advance to the PIAA title game, which will be played Thursday morning.

It’s the first time both teams will play for a state crown in the same season. Combined they have a 43-6 record.

“It’s a small school — there’s 30 kids in a class — and they all live with each other. They’re literally on top of each other all year long,” said DuBois Central Catholic baseball coach Adam Fox. “So it comes down to supporting each other. It’s a small group, so everyone has to have everybody’s back.

“It takes a village and we have a small village,” Fox added, “but it’s definitely a supportive village.”

That was evident in the PIAA quarterfinals when both teams played opponents at Slippery Rock University.

The baseball and softball fields there are adjacent. Once the DCC baseball team took care of Saegertown, members of the team ventured over and sat on a hillside to watch the softball team dispatch West Greene.

“It was great to have their support,” said Emma Suplizio, a senior right fielder on the DCC softball team. “We got a big team picture with both teams together after the game. It’s just more fun whenever everyone is doing well.”

When the DCC baseball team takes on Halifax in the championship game at Medlar Field on the campus of Penn State University on Friday at 10:30 a.m., it will be the first time the Cardinals have played for a state crown since 2001 when it was DuBois Central Christian.

The Cardinals won that year, downing Camp Hill.

This season, DCC has been a juggernaut. The Cardinals have won 14 games in a row. In the state playoffs, they have routed opponents by scores of 15-5, 7-1 and 12-2 to reach the final.

The DuBois Central Catholic softball team was in the state title game more recently. The Cardinals got there in 2019, falling to Williams Valley, 5-0.

“We missed a COVID year (in 2020) or we’d have been there that year, too,” said DCC softball coach George Heigel. “That was a good team.”

DCC will be looking for its first softball state crown when it clashes with Montgomery at Beard Field at Penn State on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Like the baseball team, the softball team has been playing their best of late. The Cardinals have won seven in a row and earned state playoff victories by scores of 4-2, 8-2 and 4-0 to get to another final.

Both teams hope to return from Penn State with gold medals around their necks. There’s a source of pride, too, in both teams getting this far in the same campaign.

“We’re a small school with 120, 130 kids total and we have two teams playing for a state title in a single year — that’s pretty amazing,” Heigel said. “Good luck to them. They’ve won pretty easily and they have a nice team.”

Both teams will be cheering on the other.

Fans will make the trek, too. DCC supporters always travel well.

“No matter where we go, we always have a ton of fans with us,” Suplizio said. “It’s definitely good to have that support.”

Suplizio said DCC is special because of the close-knit atmosphere.

That DCC brood will head a little east to Penn State Thursday and Friday.

“We call ourselves a Central family because it really is like a family,” Suplizio said. “I’m so excited, not only for us, but for those boys, too. I can’t wait.”