“Team effort” is a sports cliche.
This year’s DuBois Central Catholic Cardinals baseball team proves that cliché.
Take Tuesday’s PIAA Class A semifinal versus District 1 champion Dock Mennonite. All 10 starters—including Carter Hickman—contributed to the win.
“At the end of the day, I’m just so happy to be on this journey with these kids,” DCC head coach Adam Fox said. “They’re exceptional. It’s hard. A skeleton crew. This squad will play themselves every game.
No red carpet for us… These folks expand upon it. They crave and embrace challenges daily.”
Fox advised having an ace. Snowy can pitch like an ace. A warrior. He worked out this year and now. I wanted to time it with him to capitalize on where we are today… Snowy leading our staff is significant.
Aiden Snowberger completed his second state playoff game.
“It doesn’t surprise me with the kind of kid and worker he is and what he brings to the table. He’s a warrior.
Trenton Miller, replacing Ben Gritzer, threw out Dock Mennonite’s Zach Neff at second base in the second inning.
“I’m proud of Trenton back there,” Fox remarked. “He does so well. He’s a rookie catcher throwing people out. He blocks and throws to bases. He missed one pass today, but having a kid who can step in is vital. He stopped their jogging. That was huge.”
First baseman Andrew Green hit a leadoff double in the fifth inning and scored.
“We’ve got Andrew Green playing first right now,” Fox remarked. Andrew Green hits a tremendous third-base double. I’m extremely proud of Andrew for persevering through all this year… I’m proud of him for continuing the course and believing in this squad.
“When Carter went down, I said ‘It’s your time now, Andrew.’ I’m thrilled for him and his teammates. Because that’s a major deal—when a role player comes in and steps up like he has, he doesn’t get all the praises in the media but he’s just as important and significant a part of this squad and he’s made a difference in this team as every single player has.”
Miller’s throw to second baseman Carter Himes intercepted Neff’s attempted steal.
Shortstop Kaden Brezenski assisted Snowberger in the sixth-inning pick-off play.
“How about ‘Panda’ (Brezenski), our shortstop—playing with a torn meniscus since day one. Offensively, he’s struggled. But for him to bulldog it, be a leader, be optimistic, and make the plays he does, Penn State DuBois baseball coach Tom Calliari is getting a heck of a player and a guy who knows the game. He follows us and the game. Coachable dude.”
Third baseman Blake Pisarcik had a two-run double, and Hickman, one of the team’s great pitchers who’s been confined to DH duties since an injury in the District 9 Class A final game, hit a single home run in the fourth.
Matt Pyne caught six fly balls, including one by Nathan Lapp to the warning track.
“Carter Hickman is hot at the plate,” Fox remarked. Blake Pisarcik keeps hitting. Pyne grabbing balls.”
Cartar Kosko and Brayden Fox also contributed. In the bottom of the fifth, Kosko made a diving catch that may have prevented another Pioneers run. Fox then caught two foul balls along the fence.
This year’s championship run contrasts with previous year’s. Like golf, there are a million ways to play a hole, but the ultimate outcome is what matters.
“Last year’s team was different,” coach Fox stated. “We pitched. Carter came. Brandin Anderson and Cole Sansom. Snowy and Bray were our backup. We delved. This year we had to battle and rely on various people playing in different spots.”
Twelve DCC players played Tuesday’s semifinal. The Cardinals are one game away from back-to-back state championships despite being plagued by injuries all season.
Fox stated unity got us here and would get us through this. “It’s taken everyone in this lineup—everyone in the dugout… They stick together like no other bunch. This gang has fought more than previous year. It was arduous.
“We play all phases of the game. We’ll play like chess, not checkers. We know what we can do and will do it every day.”