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BASEBALL: Donegal falls to Knoch in state semifinals

CRESSON- Though the game was closer than the score indicated, Donegal's magical season ended in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals on Wednesday with an 8-2 loss to District 7's Knoch.

A second inning onslaught by the Knights set the pace with four runs crossing the place. The scoring began with a two-run triple by Addis Crouch followed by an RBI single by no. 9 hitter Logan Hickey and an RBI double by no. 2 hitter Chris Law.

"All through these playoffs we've have certain guys that are hitting," Knoch coach George Bradley said. "Sometimes it's the top and sometimes it was the bottom and the coaches kept saying we were due for an offensive breakout and fortunately, it came today."

Law went 2-4 with a double and 3 RBI in the game.

"They throw a lot of curveballs so we were trying to stay patient," Law said. "Then he was forced to throw us a fastball and we jumped on it."

Donegal's Camren Ney gave up six hits in the second inning before settling down and finishing his day with 12 hits and 1 strikeout while walking two and hitting three batters in 5.2 innings.

The Indians would get back into the game in the game in the fourth inning when Sam Lazowski hit a two-run single to pull Donegal within two.

Perhaps the game's most dramatic moment happened in the bottom of the fifth when Donegal loaded the bases with one out.

"It was a 4-2 game and we have bases loaded with one out so it was better than an 8-2 game at that moment," Donegal coach Chris Miller said. "We just about had what we were looking for. A base hit scores two and it's a 4-4 game. We got caught in a pickle there and momentum shifts again."

Ryan Myers appeared to hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring the Indians within one but it was determined that Dale House left third base early, resulting in a double play and the end of the inning.

"He did. He left early and that was a good call," Miller said. "That happens."

With momentum completely switching sides within the blink of an eye, the Knoch bats woke up again in the top of the sixth; resulting in two-run singles by Law and Jordan Kowalski.

"We knew they weren't going to lay down," Law said. "They're a great team and we knew we needed to keep the bats going."

Excluding one or two jams, Knoch pitcher Alex Stobert kept the Indians in check; allowing 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8.

"Today I think his curveball was working really well. He had real good control of his fastball and curveball and Asa (Adams) caught a heck of a game," Law said. "He just wanted to come out and pitch his game and he did."

Knoch will move on to the PIAA Class AAA finals where they'll meet up with Abington Heights at Penn State's Medlar Park on Friday at noon.

"We're been saying it since day one; win a WPIAL championship and then a state championship. Now we're going to come out ready to play."

Though the wound is still fresh for Donegal, Miller is confident his squad will have mostly positive memories while looking back at their 2015 season.

"We were section champs, district champs and we're playing in the state semifinals. That's as far as any team from Donegal has ever advanced. Everyone came into this with the mindset that we were going to advance to Friday but I told the kids to give it a couple days and reflect on the season that we had. It was a pretty special season."