Members of the Greater Latrobe baseball team ran out of their third-base dugout and dove headfirst onto the soaked tarp at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Thursday night.
“It was better than anyone getting hurt in a dogpile,” senior pitcher Jared Kollar said with a smile.
After a rain delay of 1 hour, 24 minutes, the Wildcats were waiting to celebrate for a while.
Thanks in large part to Kollar’s work on the mound, Greater Latrobe handled Whitehall 7-0 after the game was called in the sixth inning to win the PIAA Class 5A Championship on Thursday night.
Kollar dominated, striking out six batters and allowing only three hits — a liner to right and a couple infield dribblers — in five innings.
“He was throwing hard, mixing speeds, and there’s a big drop-off between his curveball and fastball,” Whitehall coach Shaun O’Boyle said. “He’s a pretty good pitcher.”
Meanwhile, Whitehall’s Zach Gilbert picked up the loss. In four innings of work, he allowed five runs and seven hits.
Whitehall was fortunate not to be down more than a couple in the first inning as Gilbert found himself in early trouble.
With a runner already on and one out, Zach Kokoska drilled a line drive to center field, scoring Tyler Roble. Griffin Clark followed up with a single to left, Ryan Augustine was hit by pitch, and Ryan Shawley walked on six pitches, bringing in Greater Latrobe’s second run.
With bases loaded and only one out, Gilbert settled down and struck out two to end the opening frame with a 2-0 deficit.
But Greater Latrobe capitalized on Gilbert’s shaky start, and those two runs got the Wildcats going.
Greater Latrobe didn’t necessarily need them in the end, but the Wildcats tacked on a few insurance runs in the fourth inning. Roble, Clark and Augustine hit consecutive run-scoring singles to push Greater Latrobe’s lead to 5-0.
With Kollar’s two-run single in the fifth inning and continuously stellar pitching, Whitehall didn’t have much of a shot to come back.
Kollar’s play, coupled with run support, guided Greater Latrobe to the state title — and the rain-shortened affair didn’t take anything away from the Wildcats’ win.
Said Kollar: “Whenever you have a seven-run lead, you should feel pretty confident.”