Forbes Road shut down by Meyersdale ace in semifinal
Meyersdale ace pitcher Riley Christner was on Friday afternoon, and that spelled trouble for Forbes Road.
Christner allowed only three hits and struck out 14 to carry the Raiders to a 6-0 victory in a District 5 Class A baseball semifinal at Bedford H.S.
The Cardinals - who will have just about everybody back next spring - finished with a 12-8 record. Meyersdale (19-4) will tangle with Southern Fulton (17-4) in the district championship game on Wednesday, site and time to be determined.
"When Riley's on with his fastball, he really moves it around," Raiders coach Wayne Miller said. "And he could spot it today - he was moving it north, south, east and west and then he kept moving it up the ladder and he got a lot of strikeouts on that high pitch."
Of the Cardinals' final 13 outs, 11 came via strikeout, and at least seven of those came on a fastball up around head level.
Forbes Road coach Randy Gelvin said, "He's pretty decent, but we swung at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone."
Cardinal centerfielder Aaron Schepis said, "On his fastball, he hid the ball well and it took longer to pick it up."
Meyersdale managed only five hits off Forbes Road pitchers Matt Brown and Brycen Hohman, but took advantage of four Cardinal errors and got its hits in key spots.
After a one-out walk and a wild pitch in the first, Brown got Bryce Kretchman to swing for strike three on a pitch that bounced. But the throw to first was wild and courtesy runner Kirk Eberly scored from second.
In the third, with two outs, Kretchman walked, Zach Hotchkiss doubled him home and Max Caton hit an RBI single to make it 3-0. The Raiders sewed it up in the fifth when two runners scooted home on an errant throw.
Gelvin said, "We didn't play well, and we pretty much gave them three runs. But even if we hadn't, we still didn't score any."
The Cardinals got singles from Brown, Lane Kendall and Grayson Hall and a walk to Schepis, plus Meyersdale made one error. But the way Christner was throwing, that was never going to be enough.
Forbes Road did have the play of the day on defense. With Hohman pitching, Meyersdale's Trevor Thomas zinged a liner up the middle that hit Hohman in the left front shoulder. The ball stayed in the air long enough for second baseman Talon Blair to catch it for an out.
Schepis said, "This was good experience for us to play in a game like this. We hope to be back here next year and this should help us be more confident."