Camp Hill Thwarts Serra Catholic Comeback

Article excerpt

ALTOONA -- There was no sense of sadness or anger as members of the Serra Catholic baseball team accepted their PIAA Class A silver medals at Blair County Ballpark on Friday.

Instead, the Eagles seemed to take in the spectacle, looking like players who fully expect to return next season.

Serra, which does not field a senior in its lineup, pulled off a late rally to tie the state title game against Camp Hill, only to see the defending champions respond in the final inning.

Camp Hill scored four runs in the seventh inning to claim a second consecutive PIAA championship in a 7-3 victory.

"It just wasn't in the cards today," Serra coach Brian Dzurenda said. "That is a great, great baseball team we lost to today. They did everything better than us. We definitely had a chance at the end, but the better team won the game."

For the second consecutive year, Camp Hill star Matt Spiegel was the difference. Spiegel, who pitched a shutout against Carmichaels in the 2008 title game, allowed no runs in the first four innings against Serra. After Spiegel failed to protect a 3-0 lead, he let his bat carry the Lions to victory.

"I felt great at the plate all day," he said. "I was seeing the ball well. I knew I had to get a big hit for us to win the game."

He actually had three big hits to go along with four RBI. His final hit of the day was the decisive blow.

With the game tied, 3-3, in the top of the seventh, hits by Matt Robertson and L.K. Thompson chased Serra starter Oliver Girman.

Facing reliever Brandon Sandusky, Spiegel hit the second pitch he saw down the left-field line for a two-run double. Camp Hill added two more runs in the inning.

"We were fortunate to get out of the inning before with the game still tied up," Camp Hill coach Brad Shover said. "And then we did what we had to do."

Serra, making its first appearance in a PIAA baseball championship game, went quietly in the bottom of the seventh. …