NORTHERN CAMBRIA — Northern Cambria claimed its first Heritage Conference baseball championship outright, and Joe Olish completed a five-inning no-hitter started more than a month ago in the Colts’ 16-2 victory over Marion Center in the completion of a suspended game Tuesday in Northern Cambria.
Marion Center won the second game of the doubleheader, 10-8.
“It’s nice to know we got it,” Northern Cambria coach John Bonatesta said. “There was a lot of pressure on the kids because it’s never been done before. Even though the game was how it was, you’re still questioning it because it hasn’t finished yet. This is a great group of kids. You couldn’t ask for more, really.”
Northern Cambria (13-7, 12-4 conference) had a 13-2 head start, the lead built on a 10-run first inning when the game started on April 5. Olish, the starter that day, returned to finish the job despite five walks and two hit batsmen in five innings overall.
John Hornick went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, and Olish and Joe Frontino both finished 3-for-4. Olish had a triple and three runs scored. Tyler Waldron doubled twice.
Jeff Labryer took the loss, striking out one and walking one in three innings.
Marion Center built a 10-3 lead and held on to claim the second game. Matt Shank and Mitch Gordish each slugged home runs.
Shank went 4-for-5 with three runs scored. Hunter Stiteler smacked a double. Stiteler, Travis Gaston, Andy Fox and Jake Bothell drove in two runs each.
Shank earned the win, with five strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
Josh Prasko was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
The Colts’ Austin Tibbott struck out three and walked none in four innings.
Marion Center (9-7, 9-6) visits Ligonier Valley today.
Both teams are set to open the District 6 Class AA playoffs on Thursday. While an official bracket has not been released, Northern Cambria, the ninth seed, will play at eighth-seeded Ligonier Valley, and Marion Center, the 11th seed, will play at sixth-seeded Richland.