Big inning propels Red Land to State Championship over Lampeter-Strasburg

University Park, Centre County:  The final game of the PIAA State Championship weekend, featured two area District III teams, Red Land and Lampeter-Strasburg.  The game was pushed back due to rain 24 hours but it was well worth the wait.

Red Land didn't waste much time scoring in the first.  On a Kyle Hannon grounder to second, the throw pulled Hunter Cunningham off of the bag at first and into a stumble.  That stumble allowed a speeding Cole Wagner or strated the play on second to score for an early Patriots lead.

The Pioneers responded with some hustle of their own, when Thomas Shockey put a charge into  a deep drive to center field.  Luke Wagner made the grab and hurried in a throw, but Patrick Holmes was still able to tag and score all the way from second base to even the game at a run apiece.

Lampeter-Strasburg took the lead in the top of the fifth, when pitcher Braedon Karpathios stepped to the plate. Karpathios singled through the hole at shortstop by the skin of his teeth knocking in two Pioneers for a 3-1 lead.  On the mound Karpathios tossed a gem for Lampeter-Strasburg, going five innings, striking out six batters while giving up just two hits.  Karpathios was pulled after 80 pitches.

In the bottom of the sixth Red Land came to the plate down 3-1, and they turned this game a full 180 degrees.  Kyle Hannon ended a great at bat by tanking a bomb high off the right field wall, to drive in two runs and tie this game at 3-3.

The Patriots were not done,  two batters later Mason Walker put the go ahead run across, and then the big blow came from Adam Cramer  who lined a hit to center that skipped past a diving Joe Meck, allowing two more Patriots to score.  In all Red Land plated seven in the inning and took a commanding 8-3 lead.

A distraught L-S, could not rally in the seventh. Hunter Merritt came in to relieve Jaden Henline, who went 6.2 innings.  Merritt threw just pitches but he got the final out as Red Land started the celebration as soon as Braden Kolmansberger squeezed  the final out.

Red Land claims the 5A state final over Lampeter-Strasburg 8-3.

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