A lot of high school baseball teams would be very wary of opening the district playoffs against the exact same team, with the exact same pitcher throwing, that knocked them out last season.

But Spring Grove is not a typical team, as coach Eric Zeigler is well aware of. Although Wilson beat the Rockets last May, it only motivated the group from Papertown.

Playing on their home field, Nick Spangler tossed six solid innings and Levi Krause retired all three batters he faced; that combined with some early offense earned Spring Grove a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs.

"Their pitcher is solid, he's a big time player. We faced him last year and unfortunately came out on the short end of the stick. This year we got a little revenge," Zeigler said. "These kids wanted this game so bad. They were excited we were playing them again. They rose to occasion. I am very proud of them."

The eighth-seeded Rockets improved to 15-7 and will face No. 16 J.P. McCaskey, a surprise 13-3 winner over top seed Hempfield, on Thursday at a site to be determined.

Spangler was terrific through five innings, yielding only four singles. Wilson's Bryan Fegley singled, ended up at third after two hit-batsmen, and scored on a walk.

After Spangler minimized the damage in the sixth, a single and hit batter to start the seventh prompted Zeigler to summon Krause.

Krause struck out Fegley, who missed on two bunt attempts, fanned Kyle Gaynor, then got dangerous clean-up hitter Adam Bainbridge to fly out to left on a nice play by Colby Murphy, ending the game.

"The hair stands up on your back. You know it's playoffs and when (Bainbridge is) coming up, he has potential to put one out so you work away from him," Krause said. "He gets underneath one and popped it out. That feeling when he popped it out was amazing."

Said Spangler: "Early on, all my pitches were working. I don't know, for some reason tonight I was a little wild. I don't normally hit three batters, not even one in a game. I was a little disappointed I couldn't finish it out but we have faith in each other. What (Krause) did was awesome."

Spring Grove got all the runs it would need in the second inning off Bulldogs' ace Andy Ravel, who suffered his first loss of the season.

Dalton Hoiles' infield hit got things started with one out in the second and Brad Stagemyer followed by reaching on an error -- the only one of the game for either team.

Wilson shortstop Gaynor saved a run with his diving play on John Gross' infield single that loaded the bases. However, No. 9 hitter Murphy laced a two-run single to left -- one of his three hits -- giving the Rockets a 2-0 lead.

"I was seeing the ball out of his hands, I was waiting on a fastball I could drive with the bases loaded. He threw me a ball I thought I could groove," Murphy said.

Ravel, who defeated Spring Grove, 4-1, in 2012, walked Krause and Will Maughlin in the third inning and Krause scored from second on Hoiles' line single to center.

"That's the thing about this team, we are a total team. Each win we win as a group," Zeigler said. "We have so many kids that contribute up and down the lineup. One through nine we have a solid lineup and play solid defense."

"It was such a team effort. Last year we faced these guys first round, I love us in the revenge factor," Krause added. "The seniors wanted it. The whole team wanted it. We got the job done."
@stevenavaroli; 771-2060
  

SPRING GROVE 3, WILSON 1
Wilson   000 001 0 -- 1 6 1
Spring Grove   021 000 x -- 3 9 0
   W, Andy Ravel and Nathan Smith; SG, Nick Spangler, Levi Krause (7) and John Gross. SO-BB -- Ravel 5-4, Spangler 7-1, Krause 2-0. W -- Spangler. L -- Ravel.