Time For A Championship: Lake-Lehman Weathers Changes, Wins District Title
MOOSIC — There hasn’t been a team in the District 2 playoffs that has had to adjust their schedule as much as Lake-Lehman has since Thursday.
Due to the inclement weather that seemed to be following the Black Knights around, the team has had venue and time changes on multiple occasions. Through it all, the Black Knights proved to be a resilient bunch.
Monday morning at PNC Field, the Black Knights finally got to play for the Class 3A championship. It was certainly worth the wait.
Lehman freshman Ty Federici set the tone on the mound and at the plate as the Black Knights defeated Wyoming Seminary, 5-3, to win the district title. It’s Lehman’s first district championship since winning the Class 2A title in 2011.
Both teams will advance to the state playoffs.
“It’s a great win, we played Seminary twice in the regular season and we split with them,” said Lehman manager Buzz Sincavage. “Today, the kids were ready to go. Ty (Federici), Alex Magdalinski and Dylan Wesley were ready. The extra day of rest kind of helped us. Those three have been doing it for us all season.”
The game was originally scheduled to be played Sunday night, but rain forced the game to move to Monday morning. Federici was going to get the start in the title game no matter when it was played.
“We were excited to play (Sunday),” Federici said. “We just had to come back today. I knew I had to keep my arm conditioned. I just played catch to make sure I was ready.”
Federici got the Black Knights off to a quick start in the bottom of the first. After Max Paczewski reached on an error and Kyle Sincavage picked up the first of his three hits on the day, Federici ripped a double off the fence in left to bring home the first two runs of the game.
“I think that helped, everybody gets excited and they want to do the same thing,” Federici said. Everybody picked up and did their job.”
It was the third time this year the Black Knights faced Seminary ace Aiden Murphy. Coach Sincavage said that after losing to Murphy in the regular season, the Black Knights went to the plate looking for the fastball.
“He kind of snuck some by us last time,” Sincavage said of Murphy. “Today we were looking dead red. Aiden is probably the best pitcher in the conference by far. Today was our day. We are a fastball hitting team.”
Lake-Lehman added three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-0 lead. Federici drove in one run, Luke Spencer reached on a three-base error to bring another run in before Connor Morgan’s RBI bunt single scored another.
Wyoming Seminary had a golden opportunity in the top of the third to do some damage but came up empty. The Blue Knights loaded the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout, Seminary manager Joe Phillips called for a squeeze play. The bunt never got down and the runner at second got caught in a rundown. Another strikeout ended the inning.
“Once there was one out, I decided to go with the squeeze,” Phillips said. “We didn’t perfect it and we ran ourselves out of an inning. It is something we practice and the kids are very good at it. From one to 24 they know how to run the play the proper way and not give it away. We just didn’t execute it.”
However, the Black Knights were waiting for it.
“We were waiting for that,” Sincavage said. “We were very prepared. We played (Seminary) twice and saw it. We knew it was coming.”
Seminary got back in the game with two runs in the fourth when Zane Nardone hit a two-run single. He doubled in another run in the sixth to make it 5-3.
Federici pitched the first three full innings before leaving after Seminary put the first two batters on base in the fourth. Magdalinski came on and pitched 2 2/3 innings, leaving with two out and one on in the sixth. Wesley recorded the final four outs of the game.
“I’m proud of our kids for coming back and battling,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t our best game defensively. Maybe we will get a chance to meet them down the line in the state playoffs and turn the outcome around.”
Lake-Lehman, now, 19-3, will face the No. 2 seed from District 4 in the state tournament, either Montoursville or Central Columbia. Wyoming Seminary, 15-6, will play the No. 1 seed from District 4.
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