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Bald Eagle bats punch ticket to second consecutive berth in PIAA championships

By Kenny Varner

CRESSON – Returning to defend their crowns.

After last season’s PIAA State Championship game win over Mount Union, the Bald Eagle Area baseball team has been carrying a target on their backs to their opponents.

Sporting an impressive 24-2 record. The Eagles were up for the challenge.

Monday at Mount Aloysius College the final step in their journey was completed as they defeated Northstar in the PIAA Semi finals 11-3.

Notching the win for defending champions was Tayten Yoder.

Taking the loss for the Cougars was Cayden Turner.

Offensively, the Eagles pounded Northstar for a total of 11 hits and forced them into committing seven errors in the game.

Bald Eagle finished with three players with multiple hits.

They were; Cam Watkins (2-for-4), Brayden Dubbs (2-for-5 2RBIs, run) and Gavin Burns (2-for-3, 2 doubles, two runs).

Runs came early and often for the Blue and yellow, posting five runs in the second to set the tone for the ball game.

“This was a little different in that I felt  more pressure, especially for myself,” said Bald Eagle coach James Gardner when asked if the second trip to the championship game is sweeter than last seasons. “The kids..This group, feels no pressure. So if I have to shoulder it than I’m happy to because they don’t. Throughout last years playoffs for them, they never showed it. They were relentless and poised and this year you would expect nothing different from them the second year in-a-row but you could tell they don’t get rattled over anything.”

In the top of the first, the Eagles started things off with two runners on base via a walk.

With Kaden and Gavin Burns on base, Tayten Yoder loaded the bases rapping a one hopper into left field.

But the Cougars picked up a double play to end the threat.

Northstar made the most of their first at bats, plating an early run.  Lead off hitter, Andrew Retassie led things off with a double. He was singled in by Connor Yoder.

The Eagles bounced back in the inning plating their first runs in the second.

Kaden Burns led things off with a double to the center field fence.

With one out, Connor Perry walked.

Cam Watkins followed with a high infield chopper that was misplayed by the Cougars allowing pinch runner Wyatt Spackman to score as Perry to move up to third.

Kaden Burns hit a fielders choice that went to home trying to catch.

The throw to the plate was late, allowing Perry to slide in safely, giving the Eagles the lead 2-1.

With a walk to Gavin Burns, the Eagles once again had the bases loaded.

Another Cougar miscue in the infield, scoring Watkins.

Standing at third, Kahale Burns scored on a sacrifice fly by Carson Nagle, upping the lead to 4-1.

But the Eagles weren’t done yet, Brayden Dubbs singled in Gavin Burns, giving the visiting team a 4-run advantage.

Bald Eagle sent the Cougars down in order in the second, keeping the momentum heading into the third.

Westin McClain kept the Bald Eagle momentum soaring in the third, leading off with a double.

Perry followed with a walk, putting runners on first and third.

McClain scored on a pick off attempt thrown wildly at the first while Perry blazed his way to third.

Dubbs RBI brought in Perry via an infield single, upping it to a 7-1 advantage.

That would force Yoder out of the ball game. Coming into try to stop the rally for Northstar was Vince Kimmel.

Distancing themselves from their opponents, the Eagles added another run in the fifth, moving the score to an 8-1 contest.

After allowing one run in the sixth to the Cougars, the Eagles all but punched their ticket to the big show with a 3-run seventh.

Bald Eagle Area 11, Northstar 3

BEA 052 010 3 – 11 11 1

NRS 100 011 0 –    3 7 7

WP: Tayten Yoder

LP: Cayden Turner

Multiple hitters: BEA –   Cam Watkins 2-for-4, Brayden Dubbs 2-for-5 2RBIs, run, Gavin Burns 2-for-3, 2 doubles, two runs. NRS – Glendon Griffith  2-for-3, run, Connor Yoder 2-for-4, RBI , Cayden Turner 2-for-3.

HR: BEA –   None. NRS –    None.

3B: BEA –   None. NRS –    None.

2B: BEA –   Westin McClain, Kaden Burns, Gavin Burns (2). NRS – Andrew Retassi, Griffith.

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