With a 2-1 victory Monday over District 7 champion Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, the Rocky Grove Orioles have become the first Venango County high school baseball team to advance to a PIAA state championship game.
The Orioles (16-3) will face District 3 champ Camp Hill, a come-from-behind 8-7 semifinal winner over District 11 champion Schuylkill Haven in Monday’s other semifinal. The PIAA “2A” title game will be played at 1:00 PM Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park at Penn State University. Live coverage is planned on 96.3 KQW with a pregame airtime of 12:45 PM.
The three-time defending District 10 champions scored both of their runs in the top of the fifth inning on Monday in a game moved at the last minute to Neshannock High School. Right fielder Tyler Clayton led off with a double, and the Orioles scored on an RBI single by Tyler Knupp and an RBI ground ball by winning pitcher Travis Perry.
Perry, a senior right-hander, ran into his 100-pitch limit with one out remaining to be achieved, and North Catholic (17-4) capitalized, scoring off the Orioles bullpen with a double, a hit batter and a single, but Clayton made a diving catch of a slicing line drive near the right field foul line by Trojans catcher Luc Madonna to end the game and send the Grove to Penn State.
Perry (7-1) allowed only three hits, striking out twelve batters – including the last four he faced – and walking three. His brother, junior right-hander Scott Perry, earned the save.
Knupp finished with two hits for Rocky Grove, and center fielder Danny Lynch went 3-for-3 for North Catholic.
Rocky Grove will be the only District 10 team present at Penn State. Meadville dropped a 3-2 decision to Ringgold in a “4A” semifinal also played Monday at Neshannock.