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Laurel Spartans 

CRESSON — The Laurel High baseball team came through in the game’s late stages Monday.

The Spartans broke a scoreless duel with two markers in the top of the seventh and they made it stand in a 2-0 PIAA Class 2A first-round win over Bishop Guilfoyle at Mount Aloysius College.

According to Laurel coach Todd Fennick, it’s the first PIAA baseball victory in the program’s history.

“We wrote a little history tonight,” Fennick said. “It’s great to be a part of it.”

The Spartans (13-7) will meet Seton-LaSalle, a 9-1 winner over Lakeview, on Thursday at a time and site to be determined. The Rebels rallied for a 5-4 win over Laurel in the WPIAL semifinals.

Seton-LaSalle is the WPIAL champion.

“That was a really good game; we just came up on the short end,” Fennick said of the first meeting with Seton-LaSalle. “We know we’re up against a very good team. We’re going to have to come out and play our best ball.

“We didn’t play our best ball the last time. It’s good that we saw them. But on the other hand, they saw us too.”

With one out in the seventh, Luke McCoy singled and Robert Herr doubled him in for a 1-0 Spartans lead. Landin Esposito doubled in Herr with two outs for a 2-0 lead.

Will Shaffer started and went the first six innings for Laurel to pick up the win. Shaffer surrendered two hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.

“Shaffer pitched a really strong ballgame today,” Fennick said. “He had great command and his pitches were in the strike zone. This was one of his best outings of the year today.

“We knew going in they hadn’t seen a pitcher with velocity that Will has. We went after them with the fastball. Later on we mixed it up with the offspeed stuff.”

Shaffer won’t be available to pitch on Thursday.

Fennick went to the bullpen and Landin Esposito pitched the seventh to pick up the save. Esposito allowed two hits and no walks with a strikeout.

“He’s done it before for us,” Fennick said of Esposito. “We had confidence in him that he would go out and give us a good inning and he did just that. He did a great job to close out the game.”

The Spartans recorded four total hits off Bishop Guilfoyle starter Austin Lewis.

“Lewis pitched all seven innings and he did a good job of keeping us off balance,” Fennick said. “We had a good amount of hits in play but they made the plays.”

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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