Oley Valley holds off Scranton Prep, reaches PIAA Class 3A baseball semis [Video]

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Jun. 11—CENTER VALLEY — Oley Valley baseball coach Nate Reed surprised freshman Paul Petersen when he told him he'd be pitching the final two innings Thursday.

Petersen hadn't thrown in a game since the regular season. Was he nervous about his first pitching appearance in a postseason game?

"I don't think so," Reed deadpanned. "He was more worried about his hair. His cap falls off because his hair is too long. I think he was more worried about that than being nervous or not getting the job done."

With the Lynx's PIAA Class 3A title hopes on the line, Petersen held off Scranton Prep and delivered a nerve-wracking, 8-6 quarterfinal win at DeSales University.

Oley Valley (20-5), the District 3 champion, reached the state semifinals for the first time since 1989 and will face District 2 champ Lake-Lehman Monday at a site and time to be announced. The Knights beat Trinity 2-1.

Petersen replaced Garet Blankenbiller, who threw 98 pitches in five innings, fell behind a lot of hitters, walked three and hit one. Petersen retired the first two batters he faced in the sixth before Scranton Prep (7-13), the District 2 runner-up, scored two runs on Brian Walsh's single and made it a two-run game.

In the seventh, though, Petersen retired the side in order to allow the Lynx to hold on and move on.

"My heart was racing a lot," Petersen said. "I get nervous in a lot of situations. I told myself to throw strikes and to let them hit the ball. We have a good defense. I just wanted to do the job and get out of here with a win."

The Lynx won despite committing three errors and getting thrown out at third base twice. It was not pretty, but they advanced.

"We were pretty good (on defense), but we had a couple big mishaps," Reed said. "We have to play clean games, especially against better teams. We got away with it today.

"Garet got a little too deep in the count early, which stretched out his pitch count. He kept us in the ballgame and got a win. Paul came in and shut it down."

Oley collected 14 hits, their most since a 25-0 win over Antietam early in the season. Blankenbiller went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, Petersen was 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI and Eddie Standhardt was 3-for-4 and scored two runs.

Standhardt, catcher Evan Solley, center fielder Matt Knowles and third baseman Chase Reifsnyder are headed to the PIAA semifinals for the second time this school year. They made it in the fall in soccer.

"It feels great," Standhardt said. "You want to go as far as you can. For it to be my second semifinal when other kids don't make it at all, it's definitely a blessing."

Oley took a 5-0 lead after the first two innings, but it could have easily been 7-0. Ty Yerger, who was running for Blankenbiller, was thrown out in the first inning trying to move up to third base on a wild pitch. Yerger was thrown out at third in the second after Reed had waved him to advance.

Those mistakes plus three fielding errors allowed the Cavaliers to make the Lynx sweat. They scored one run in the third with the help of errors by Joey Vaccaro in left field and Luke McDonald at second base.

In the fifth, Reifsnyder dropped a foul pop-up and nearly ripped a fingernail off his right hand in the process. That enabled UConn recruit Noah Sorensen to line a two-run double.

When Scranton Prep scored two in the sixth, Oley began to feel pressure.

"Everybody on the team was a little nervous," Standhardt said. "This is the first time some people are playing in state playoffs. It was pretty close to being a nail-biter at the end."

Petersen, however, stayed calm in the seventh and helped the Lynx advance.

"He's a great kid," Reed said. "He's a phenomenal infielder. He has a great swing for a freshman. He obviously does it on the mound, but he needs a haircut."

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