PIAA Quarterfinals: The Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers (23-4) defeated Franklin Regional (19-3) Friday and will now head to the PIAA Class 5A semifinals where they will play Cedar Cliff on Monday.
After the Pioneers’ SP Braedon Karpathios struck out the first two hitters he faced on swinging strikes, the entire team must have known the odds were in the their favor to win.
Karpathous, a D1 commit to Coastal Carolina looked the part today striking out 11 batters in the 5 innings he pitched.
Andrew Muraco started for the Panthers but allowed three consecutive hits to plate two runs. Thomas Shockey singled, and Karpathios doubled to the gap in left-center. Dylan Byler ripped the next pitch to the same spot for another run. Byler later ran home on an infield error that was tagged as an unearned run. LS led 3-0.
Karpathios used a wide strike zone to his advantage, striking out 11 — six looking — as he found the outside edge.
“The 3-0 lead gives us energy, enthusiasm, and passion for the game,” Pioneer coach Keith Martin said. “Karpathios looked phenomenal. We had couple of good defensive plays, and I like to see that. We had to face some adversity, but I liked the way we faced it and won those little challenges in the game.”
Franklin Regional finally scored after a Tony Kegerreis single. He raced to third on a rare two-base wild pitch and scored on a Bryce Harper sacrifice fly.
The Pioneers extended their lead in the fourth as Patrick Holmes singled. Taso Kovach walked, and the Panthers got a fielder’s choice for one out and runners on the corners. Everybody was safe as Kovach beat the play on Shockey’s grounder to short. Holmes scored on the play, and Shockey raced home on a double by Karpathios.
The Panthers had runners in scoring position with no outs in the fifth, but Karpathios struck out three in a row.
The Pioneers added to their lead in the sixth as Joe Meck doubled and eventually raced home on a wild pitch for the 7-1 edge.
A walk to Jake Williams preceded a double by Tony Kegerreis in the seventh for the final Panthers run. Kegerreis had three hits.
“Credit to their pitcher, a Coastal Carolina commit who used the called strike zone to his advantage,” Saddler said. “We are not normally a team that takes pitches, especially with two strikes. It didn’t end the way we wanted, but this group worked so hard from freshman, sophomore, junior to senior year. This is one of the hardest-working groups. It is a pleasure to coach this group. They love to be around each other, the family atmosphere.”