By BRIAN DZENIS
Roth Brothers lack a Division I headliner, but they had just enough to get by Baird Brothers in the Class B semifinals on Friday.
After doing nine innings of battle with Youngstown State’s Travis Perry and Ohio University’s Andrew Russell, Patrick Brogan singled home the game’s only run for a 1-0 victory.
“I just had to relax and feel the moment. My previous at-bat was a similar situation — a groundout to the pitcher,” said Brogan, a Coraopolis, Pa., native. “I had to clear that out from my mind. I was looking right at a fastball and got it up the middle.”
The California University of Pennsylvania commit came to the plate with two outs and Russell on the mound and North Huntingdon’s (Pa.) Logan Liedzinski at second. He sent the ball past Russell into center field for the winning run.
Roth Brothers did not have a single Division I commit on its roster, but their pitching tandem of Poland’s Jared Knight and Butler’s (Pa.) Colby Anderson limited Baird to four hits.
Knight worked eight innings, giving up four hits, two walks and a struck batter while striking out four to pick up the win.
Anderson gave up two walks and had a strikeout to get the save.
“It was a pretty good day. I just needed to hit my spots with my curve ball for strikes and work the zone,” Knight said.
Perry looked every bit the part of an ace for Baird Brothers. The 6 foot-7 right-hander came to Cene after helping Rocky Grove (Pa.) High School win back-to-back district titles while also earning consecutive District Player of the Year honors.
He struck out 13 batters while giving up five hits and three walks on Friday.
“There was a lot of speed. I had to keep my hands tight through the zone,” Brogan said. “I made sure I squared up the ball.”
Brogan was one of two batters to have any kind of success against Perry, going 2 for 3. Also going 2 for 3 was Warren JFK sophomore Cam Hollobaugh, who has been a shot in the arm for Roth Brothers. He recently moved up from the lower-level Class b edition of the team.
“He’s been hitting close to .500 since he’s been called up,” Roth coach Mike Celfalde said. “He’s an absolute player. To me, he’s going to end up being a Division I player.”
Hollobaugh earned starting roles with the Eagles’ football and baseball teams in his freshman year. With Roth Brothers, he’s played catcher, third base, second base, shortstop outfield and even pitched for the 18U side. On Friday, he was the team’s No. 3 hitter.
“He’s very calm, he doesn’t let the moment affect him,” Cefalde said. “He affects the game.”