JACKSON TWP — The game appeared to be over.
Pine-Richland baseball coach Kurt Wolfe knew better than that.
Although the Rams entered the bottom of the fourth inning with an 11-1 cushion over Seneca Valley, Wolfe was far from comfortable.
“They’ve won back-to-back WPIAL championships for a reason. They’re ranked No. 1 for a reason,” he explained. “They’re good — they’re not going to quit.”
The Raiders proved him right.
Seneca Valley clawed its way back and put the tying run at the plate in the sixth and seventh innings, but Pine-Richland held on for a 14-11 non-section win on a chilly Wednesday evening at Raider Field.
“There are some negatives and positives out of that game,” said SV coach Eric Semega. “The positive is we hit the ball just as well (as P-R did) today. We had some opportunities to actually steal this game away.”
However, the initial hole proved too deep.
The Rams (3-0) immediately pounced on Seneca Valley (0-1) with a three-run homer from Shea Sullivan and an RBI double off the bat of Jamie Switalski in the first inning.
Pine-Richland extended its lead to 7-0 and responded from SV’s initial run by tacking on four more in the top of the fourth for an 11-1 advantage.
The Rams didn’t muster an extra-base hit after the first inning, but capitalized on 12 walks and two hit batsmen from Raider pitching throughout the game.
Zach Spangler was the first of five SV hurlers to take the hill and allowed five earned runs while walking four in 1 2-3 innings.
Troy Martin was next and gave up six runs — five earned — walked five and also lasted 1 2-3 innings.
“I don’t think that’s going to be a theme to what we can do on the mound this year,” said Semega.
Alex Hajduk, Bryce Schnatterly and Jason Martin combined to pitch the rest of the game. Schnatterly was charged with three runs, but struck out two.
The Raiders began to make a run at the Rams in the fourth when Spangler and Jason Martin had back-to-back singles, followed by an RBI double from Connor Coward and a Gianpaul Gonzalez sacrifice fly.
SV inched to within 11-5 after five innings, chasing Switalski, before P-R pushed its lead to 13-5.
The Raiders didn’t flinch, though, scoring five runs in the bottom half of the sixth to apply some pressure on the Rams.
Dan Barna ripped a two-RBI double down the right-field line, before Jon Dorogy belted an RBI double over the right fielder’s head. Five batters later, Coward came to the plate with the bases loaded trailing 13-10 with two outs, but lined out sharply to right.