Lampeter-Strasburg vs Red Land-PIAA 5A Baseball Championships

Lampeter-Strasburg's seniors pose with the runner-up trophy after losing 8-3 to Red Land in the PIAA 5A baseball championships on Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on the campus of Penn State University Friday June 14, 2019.

UNIVERSITY PARK -- The crack of the bat echoed throughout Penn State’s Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Friday night. Unfortunately for Lampeter-Strasburg, Red Land was the team piling up the hits.

The Patriots broke through for a seven-run sixth inning, scoring on six hits and an error, for an 8-3 comeback victory in the PIAA Class 5A baseball championship game. The title marks the second in school history and the first since 1990.

The squads were locked in a pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning.

Red Land (25-3) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Cole Wagner walked, stole second and crossed home as Kyle Hannon reached on an error. L-S quickly answered back in the third.

Patrick Holmes hit a leadoff single up the middle and advanced to second on Taso Kovack’s sacrifice bunt. Joe Meck followed with a walk before Thomas Shockey flied out to deep center field to bring in the run.

The momentum truly shifted in the fifth, as L-S (24-5) loaded the bases with two outs. Kovack and Shockey walked and singled into right to set the stage for Braedon Karpathios. The sophomore smoked a two-run single into left, sending his teammates spilling out of the dugout in celebration.

Karpathios also did his part on the mound, pitching five innings of two-hit ball and only giving up an unearned run. L-S made a pitching change in the sixth and Red Land seemed to find its swing against the Pioneer relievers.

“It was all trending the way we wanted it, the way we kind of had it plotted out in our heads when we started and we felt confident in what we were doing,” L-S coach Keith Martin said of the pitching change.

“It was a tight ballgame, but we had a lot of confidence in those guys (in the bullpen). We would rather make that decision too early than too late. In this situation, it didn’t work out for us, but I don’t know that we would do anything different.”

A walk and a single put runners on first and second before Kyle Hannon rocketed a double off the wall in right field to tie the game at 3-3. Mason Walker followed with an RBI single and Jaden Henline sent a base hit into left to put runners on first and second with just one out.

Jake Cunkle then doubled down the line to make it a 5-3 game before Adam Cramer scorched a triple past a diving Meck in center field to clear the bases. Cramer would later score on a wild pitch to put the game out of reach.

L-S had one last opportunity as Kovack singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Henline would respond with his seventh strikeout of the night before receiving a standing ovation as he left the game with 103 pitches and just one out away from claiming gold.

While a pop-up to second base ended the game and the chance for L-S to win its first state title since 2005, Martin’s postgame focus was on the Pioneers’ achievements this season, including the team’s first Lancaster-Lebanon League championship since 1994.

“It’s been a heck of a season, it really has,” Martin said. “We won a lot of games, they really jelled together. You just tell them to look back at the season, look back at the memories. It hurts right now, but going forward, it’s the team, it’s the year, it’s the memory, it’s the positives that they’re going to look back on and remember years from now.”