High School Sports

Neumann-Goretti blanks Bishop McCort in PIAA Class AA baseball championship game

Neumann-Goretti’s Brian Verratti directed his teammates to hurry as they carried the orange Gatorade cooler from the dugout to the field.

Saints coach Kevin Schneider was starting an interview when Ethan Pritchett and Jared Healey made their move and drenched him to celebrate a 3-0 victory over Bishop McCort in the PIAA Class AA championship game Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

“We’ve been waiting to do that since last year,” Pritchett said.

Last year, Neumann-Goretti lost 9-0 to Neshannock in the state championship game.

Pritchett said he’s been thinking about that game since it ended. He threw a complete game Thursday, allowing three hits while striking out eight and walking five.

Verratti paced the Saints offensively, scoring their first run on an error and driving in their final two runs on a triple. Verratti reached base four times and finished with three stolen bases.

Bishop McCort’s Billy Wilson allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss.

Verratti drew a walk to start the game in the top of the first inning.

He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before stealing third base and scoring after Bishop McCort catcher Logan Wade got by third baseman Brenden Lavely.

“Pitchers tend to go through the motions and I’d seen that he kept doing the same thing and I just took off,” Verratti said.

When a rain delay began after the top of the fourth, the score remained 1-0.

Pritchett ran on a treadmill and stretched to stay loose.

The Saints right-hander then took the mound after a nearly two-hour delay. Three walks in the inning loaded the bases with two outs, but Pritchett struck out Logan Kasper to end the threat.

“He is just one of the clutchest players I’ve ever been with,” Verratti said of Pritchett.

Verratti provided more run support in the fifth.

After back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt, Verratti tripled to right-center field to push the lead to 3-0.

Pritchett took care of the final out on a ground ball back to him.

“That’s all I was saying to myself, finally,” Pritchett said. “We finally got it done.”

Ryne Gery: 814-231-4679, @rgery