District 2 Baseball: MMI Prep Powers To Class A Championship
MOOSIC — If you’re looking to rattle MMI Prep freshman pitcher Marcus Danchision, it’s going to take more than a District 2 championship game at PNC Field to do it.
Facing top-seeded Forest City on Tuesday in the Class A title game, Danchision hardly looked like a first-year varsity player. He allowed just two singles, struck out eight, and never let a runner past second base in a thoroughly masterful mound performance.
Meanwhile, the Preppers got just enough offense — and some help from the baseball gods — to manufacture three late runs and produce a 3-0 victory and capture their second District 2 championship in five years and first for new head coach Ryan Jastremsky.
MMI will move on to play Tri-Valley today at 4:30 in Pottsville for the District 2/11 subregional crown and the berth to the state tournament that goes with it.
“He was incredible,” Jastremsky said of Danchision, who needed just 84 pitches to finish off the top-seeded Foresters (10-4). “I know he’s a freshman, and on the surface it might look like we were nuts starting a freshman in this kind of game, but he’s such a competitor and so he’s so experienced. Nothing bothers that kid. He’s up to any challenge.”
Danchison was in command from the get-go, striking out two batters in each of the first three innings and carrying a no-hitter into the fourth. He stayed ahead of hitters, worked around a couple Prepper errors, allowed just one walk, and never let the Foresters get a hold of anything at the plate.
“I’ve pitched in big-time situations before and visited some big-time places before. I wasn’t nervous at all. I was confident,” Danchision said.
“I’ve visited a few universities before, some big-time travel games, other league games that were important to us to even get us here. I knew what I had, and I knew my team could come get this for me.”
Danchision said he had all of his pitches working for him Tuesday.
“I spotted my fastball well, my changeup is usually my best pitch but was a little shaky this season, but today it worked phenomenally,” he said. “My curve ball/slider, power curve, was working very well today. That’s what I got the majority of strikeouts on.”
While Danchision was working his magic, the Preppers were trying to break through first on starter Eric Paulin and then reliever Kyle Shema.
They had two baserunners on in each of the first two innings, and another in the third before finally breaking through against Shema in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Mike Badamo led off with a sharp single through the box, coaxing several throws to first from Shema before finally stealing second. Then, with two out, Lance Book’s high infield pop was dropped for an error, allowing Badamo to score from second for the game’s first run.
“As soon as we got that run I got extremely excited. I knew I could hold them down,” Danchision said.
He did just that, working around an infield single to get Forest City out in the bottom of the fifth, and then watched as his teammates added two insurance runs in a wild sixth.
“Incredible,” Jastremsky, still soaked from his ice cooler shower, said of the team’s championship. “My predecessors, Emmett Thomas and Shawn McLaughlin, they got this program to where it is. These kids have worked hard to have the kind of season that they did and achieve this result. It’s an incredible feeling.”
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