WILLIAMSPORT — The eyes of Philipsburg-Osceola baseball players gazed out of the visitors' dugout at Bowman Field.
What they saw on the pitchers mound made them light up.
Loyalsock Township pitcher Luke Glavin tossed a few warm-up throws toward home plate, indicating he would step in for starter Kyle Datres after just four innings. To that point, the Mounties hadn’t had much success against the hard-throwing freshman.
They had other ideas for Glavin.
The Mounties battered Glavin immediately. Mike Marcinko walked to lead off, Robbie Smith singled and Andrew Greenawalt blasted a two-RBI shot to right and P-O advanced to the second round of the PIAA Class AA tournament with a 5-4 win over the District 4 champion Lancers.
“As soon a we saw (Datres) pulled out we were just ecstatic because we knew that we got them shaken up and we had to jump on this new kid and that’s what we did,” Greenawalt said. “I got up there, I was looking for that perfect pitch. I knew if I got that one right down the middle I knew I’d be able to get a good swing on it at least.”
P-O (19-5) will play the winner of District 1 champion Springfield Township and District 11 champion Pine Grove in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday. The Springfield Township-Pine Grove game was postponed Monday due to the weather and will be played at 4 p.m. today at LaSalle College High School.
Greenawalt — a junior who didn’t play on the varsity squad last season — has steadily worked his way up a lineup loaded with experience.
“Greeney, he started out the year and we didn’t know what to expect,” P-O coach Doug Sankey said. “He’s young. He didn’t play varsity last year. He was batting eighth and then he was seventh, sixth, five ... and now he’s hitting third for us. The key with him is he doesn’t strike out. He takes a lot of pitches and he always squares the ball up. He always hits the ball hard somewhere.”
Four batters later it was Matt Carpin hitting the ball with force.
J.P. Pawlikowski relieved Glavin and Carpin sent one of Pawlikowski’s pitches to right to plate Parker Watson, who had reached on a single off of Glavin.
Carpin’s RBI would hold up as the game-winning run after Mark Curtis and the Mountie defense fended off a late surge by the Lancers.
After the game was delayed for over an hour just an inning in due to a brief rain shower that drenched the field, the Lancers (21-3), playing for the second time in three days, began to establish some offensive momentum.
After managing just three hits through five innings, the Lancers got Curtis to crack in the bottom of the sixth.
With two outs, Curtis walked Ethan Moore before Phil Krizan reached on an error. Robbie Kline belted a double down the right field line that scored both Lancer base runners. Bailey Young followed with a single that easily scored Kline who had taken two bases on a Curtis wild pitch just moments before.
Curtis walked Nick DiFraseco before getting Datres to ground out to escape the inning with a 5-4 lead.
P-O coach Doug Sankey was prepared to use reliever Cody Lee, but decided to stick with Curtis after a brief talk with his catcher.
“Robbie’s been around a while so I trust him,” Sankey said. “He said Mark still had good stuff and looked as strong as he did at the beginning of the game and tends to throw harder toward the end of the game. So we were confident leaving him in there.”
They are much more confident than in the District 6 title game, a contest P-O lost to Mount Union.
Then, Curtis was unable to establish a rhythm. Curtis said he warmed up too early and skipped band stretching exercises in Altoona. He returned to his old routine against Loyalsock.
Early, however, rain threatened both starting pitchers’ grooves.
But both Curtis and Datres seemed undaunted by the long layoff.
“I thought I’d be a little bit more tired because we had a rain delay,” Curtis said. “But my arm felt good so I was like, alright, I can keep going, keep going. It felt good. The curveball really helped me out.”
Curtis finished with six strikeouts, three walks and gave up five hits. He improved to 8-1 and said he would be ready to play Thursday if needed in relief.
It came as a relief to P-O players and coaches that the Mounties were able to establish their offense more consistently than what they came up with in Altoona.
“The difference with us today is we got guys on base, first guy on and then made some things happen,” Sankey said. “The district finals, we couldn’t get our leadoff guy on so it’s tough to steal and tough to move guys around.”
Walstrom took that responsibility on himself in the third when he led off with a double. He’d advance to third on a wild pitch from Datres and then scored when Marcinko drove him in with a single.
Loyalsock responded in the bottom of the fourth when Glavin scored on a P-O throwing error during a fielder’s choice.
Travis Johnson can be reached at 231-4629. Follow him on Twitter @traviswjohnson_