PIAA baseball: Dallas, Nick Kocher power past Athens

By Jay Monahan - For Times Leader
Dallas starter Nick Kocher delivers a pitch against Athens in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday in Hughestown. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas center fielder Darren Kerdesky catches a fly ball against Athens in a PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball game Monday in Hughestown. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas’ J.D. Barrett trots home from third base as Athens catcher Daniel Joyce awaits the throw in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas left fielder Drew Patton flinches as he is hit by an Athens pitch in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Dallas’ Mike Luksic takes a lead from second base ahead of Athens shortstop Justin Reagan in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

HUGHESTOWN — No runners on base. Yet here Nick Kocher was on the mound, throwing out of the stretch – in contradiction to conventional pitching wisdom.

Kocher stayed in his comfort zone Monday to give Dallas a victory in its first state playoff game in 16 years. The Mountaineers blanked Athens 9-0 in the PIAA Class 4A first round with their 10th consecutive victory.

“We’re not going to fix something that isn’t broken,” Dallas coach Ken Kashatus said. “We’re just going to let him do his thing if he’s comfortable in the stretch.”

Dallas advanced will play West York, the No. 3 seed from District 3 and a 7-3 winner over Bonner-Prendergast, on Thursday at a time and site to be determined.

Kocher changed his approach after walking seven in a brief outing at the district championship game. The shorter release helped his control, as he walked just one batter in six scoreless innings. He threw 27 pitches in the first and just 44 over the next five innings.

J.D. Barrett was a thorn in the Wildcats’ side from the start. He reached on a walk in the first inning and moved to third base on a Mike Luksic single to right field. Kocher drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly. He led off the third inning with a double to left before extending the Mountaineers’ lead to two.

Barrett scored in all four plate appearances. He reached three times via bases on balls.

“We pitched well. We were productive with guys on base,” Kashatus said. “And there was a big team right there coming in with a 17-2 record. We liked our chances. We’ve won 10 in a row now. We like our team.”

Kocher escaped back-to-back jams in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, he left a runner stranded on first and third after forcing leadoff hitter Ryan Kennedy to pop out.

Athens looked poised to cut into Dallas’ 4-0 lead in the sixth. Three consecutive two-out singles loaded the bases for the Wildcats. Again, Kocher left unscathed by striking out Joe Horn to keep the tying run off the base paths.

“When you win nine in a row, going for 10, you have a level of confidence you didn’t have when you were 2-6,” Kashatus said. “If you’re around the plate, you expect guys to pick you up and make a play. And we played pretty good defense for the most part.”

Dallas broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning.

At the plate, Kocher helped his caused with three RBI. He drove in a pair with an infield single in the sixth frame.

For other high school baseball stories, click here.

PIAA Class 4A first round

Dallas 9, Athens 0

Athens`AB`R`H`BI

Kennedy 2b`2`0`0`0

Collins p`3`0`0`0

Jennings 1b`4`0`0`0

Newman rf`3`0`1`0

Stivason cf`3`0`1`0

Joyce c`3`0`1`0

Horn 3b-p`3`0`1`0

Parshall p`0`0`0`0

Rude pr`0`0`0`0

Felt lf-p`3`0`3`0

Reagan ss`2`0`0`0

Totals`26`0`7`0

Dallas`AB`R`H`BI

Kerdesky cf`4`2`1`1

Barrett 2b`1`4`1`0

Luksic 1b`3`0`2`1

Kocher p`2`0`1`3

Lydon p`0`0`0`0

Kovalick pr`0`0`0`0

Collins rf`3`0`1`1

McCrum ss`3`0`2`1

Patton lf`2`0`1`0

Lewis lf`1`1`0`0

Mathers c`0`0`0`0

Giacometti dh`2`1`0`0

Huntington 1b`2`1`0`0

Totals`23`9`9`7

Athens`000`000`0`—`0

Dallas`101`025`x`—`9

2B — Kerdesky, Patton

Athens`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Collins (L)`4.0`6`4`4`2`1

Horn`1.0`1`3`3`3`0

Parshall`0+`0`0`0`0`0

Felt`1.0`2`2`1`1`2

Dallas`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Kocher (W)`6.1`7`0`0`1`3

Lydon`0.2`0`0`0`1`0

Dallas starter Nick Kocher delivers a pitch against Athens in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday in Hughestown.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Dallas-AthensBB_1.jpgDallas starter Nick Kocher delivers a pitch against Athens in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday in Hughestown. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas center fielder Darren Kerdesky catches a fly ball against Athens in a PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball game Monday in Hughestown.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Dallas-AthensBB_2.jpgDallas center fielder Darren Kerdesky catches a fly ball against Athens in a PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball game Monday in Hughestown. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas’ J.D. Barrett trots home from third base as Athens catcher Daniel Joyce awaits the throw in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Dallas-AthensBB_3.jpgDallas’ J.D. Barrett trots home from third base as Athens catcher Daniel Joyce awaits the throw in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas left fielder Drew Patton flinches as he is hit by an Athens pitch in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Dallas-AthensBB_4.jpgDallas left fielder Drew Patton flinches as he is hit by an Athens pitch in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Dallas’ Mike Luksic takes a lead from second base ahead of Athens shortstop Justin Reagan in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown.
https://www.mydallaspost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_Dallas-AthensBB_5.jpgDallas’ Mike Luksic takes a lead from second base ahead of Athens shortstop Justin Reagan in PIAA Class 4A opening round baseball action Monday afternoon in Hughestown. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Jay Monahan

For Times Leader

PIAA BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

All teams are listed by (district-seed)

CLASS 6A

FIRST ROUND

Pennsbury 2, Parkland 1

Perkiomen Valley 2, Williamsport 0

Liberty 5, Governor Mifflin 4

Frankford 5, Neshaminy 2

St. Joseph’s Prep 3, North Penn 1

Dallastown 8, Hatboro-Horsham 1

Tuesday, May 6

• State College (6-1) vs. North Allegheny (7-2), 3 p.m., Bald Eagle Area H.S., Wingate

• Pine-Richland (7-1) vs. Penn Manor (3-3), 11 a.m., Somerset H.S., Somerset

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• Pennsbury (1-1) vs. Perkiomen Valley (1-4), TBA

• Liberty (11-1) vs. Frankford (12-1), TBA

• St. Joseph’s Prep (12-2) vs. Dallastown (3-1), TBA

• State College-North Allegheny winner vs. Pine-Richland-Penn Manor winner, TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 16

• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m., Medlar Field, State College

CLASS 5A

FIRST ROUND

Wallenpaupack 3, Upper Merion 1

Upper Moreland 2, Archbishop Wood 0

Whitehall 7, Daniel Boone 0

Springfield 15, Franklin Towne Charter 0

Cedar Cliff 3, Mars 1

West Allegheny 11, Cathedral Prep 3

Tuesday, June 6

• Marple Newtown (1-1) vs. Red Land (3-3), 4 p.m., Neumann Univ., Aston

• Greater Latrobe (7-1) vs. Manheim Central (3-4), 4 p.m., White Twp. Park, Indiana

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• Marple Newtown-Red Land winner vs. Wallenpaupack (2-1), TBA

• Upper Moreland (1-3) vs. Whitehall (11-1), TBA

• Springfield (1-2) vs. Cedar Cliff (3-1), TBA

• West Allegheny (7-3) vs. Greater Latrobe-Manheim Central winner, TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, June 15

• Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m., Medlar Field, State College

CLASS 4A

FIRST ROUND

E. Pennsboro 7, N. Hope-Solebury 0

Wilson Area 13, Esperanza 0

West York 7, Bonner-Prendergast 3

Dallas 9, Athens 0

Forest Hills 4, Kennard Dale 3

South Park 4, Clearfield 0

Hopewell 6, Slippery Rock 1

Tuesday, June 8

• Blackhawk (7-1) vs. Hickory (10-2), 4 p.m., Neshannock H.S., New Castle

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• East Pennsboro (3-1) vs. Wilson Area (11-1), TBA

• West York (3-3) vs. Dallas (2-1), TBA

• Forest Hills (6-1) vs. Blackhawk-Hickory winner, TBA

• South Park (7-2) vs. Hopewell (7-3), TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 16

• Semifinal winners, 1 p.m., Medlar Field, State College

CLASS 3A

FIRST ROUND

Loyalsock Township 5, Lakeland 0

Holy Redeemer 5, Tamaqua 0

Central 10, Chestnut Ridge 0

Sharpsville 5, Ellwood City 2

Huntingdon 6, Mt. Pleasant 5

Tuesday, June 6

• Lancaster Catholic (3-1) vs. Science Leadership (12-2), 2 p.m., Penn Manor H.S., Millersville

• Riverside (7-1) vs. Fairview (10-2), 1:30 p.m., Neshannock H.S., New Castle

Wednesday, June 7

• Conwell-Egan (12-1) vs. Oley Valley (3-2), 4 p.m., Archbishop Wood H.S., Warminster

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• Lancaster Catholic-Science Leadership winner vs. Loyalsock Township (4-1), TBA

• Holy Redeemer (2-1) vs. Conwell-Egan-Oley Valley winner, TBA

• Riverside-Fairview winner vs. Central (6-2), TBA

• Sharpsville (10-1) vs. Huntingdon (6-1), TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, June 15

• Semifinal winners, 3 p.m., Medlar Field, State College

CLASS 2A

FIRST ROUND

Old Forge 1, Wellsboro 0

Marian Catholic 2, S. Williamsport 1

Bellwood-Antis 3, Newport 2

Brookville 4, Conemaugh Township 3

Bishop McCort 4, Freedom Area 0

Rocky Grove 2, Serra Catholic 1

Tuesday, June 6

• Neumann-Goretti (12-1) vs. Dock Mennonite (1-1), 4 p.m., Archbishop Wood H.S., Warminster

• California (7-1) vs. Saegertown (10-2), 11 a.m., Neshannock H.S., New Castle

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• Old Forge (2-1) vs. Neumann Goretti-Dock Mennonite winner, TBA

• Marian Catholic (11-1) vs. Bellwood-Antis (6-2), TBA

• California-Saegertown winner vs. Brookville (9-1), TBA

• Bishop McCort (6-1) vs. Rocky Grove (10-1), TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Friday, June 16

• Semifinal winners, 10:30 a.m., Medlar Field, State College

CLASS A

FIRST ROUND

High Point 5, GAMP 0

Millersburg 6, Faith Christian 3

Meyersdale 6, Homer Center 1

Clarion 4, Berlin-Brothersvalley 3

Greensburg C.C. 2, Juniata Valley 1

Tuesday, June 6

• Sayre (4-1) vs. Tri-Valley (11-1), 4:30 p.m., Mansfield Univ., Mansfield

• Jeannette (7-1) vs. Elk County Catholic (9-3), 4 p.m., Greater Latrobe H.S., Latrobe

• Oswayo Valley (9-1) vs. Union (7-3), 4:30 p.m., Showers Field, DuBois

QUARTERFINALS

Thursday, June 8

• High Point (3-1) vs. Sayre-Tri Valley winner, TBA

• Millersburg (3-2) vs. Meyersdale (5-1), TBA

• Jeannette-Elk County Catholic winner vs. Clarion (9-2), TBA

• Greensburg Central Catholic (7-2) vs. Oswayo Valley-Union winner, TBA

SEMIFINALS

Monday, June 12

• Quarterfinal winners at neutral sites

CHAMPIONSHIP

Thursday, June 15

• Semifinal winners, 12:30 p.m., Medlar Field, State College

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports