State Champs 06

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:54

ALTOONA - If Hollywood had scripted last Saturday, they couldn’t have done it better than fate produced it. Baking sunshine bore down on the perfect grass at Blair County Stadium, while a roller coaster and the lush farmlands of central Pennsylvania provided a backdrop over the outfield fence. After a sparkling season, (10-0, 1.18 E.R.A) newly graduated senior left-hander Jesse Johnson went to the mound for his final appearance in a Warrior uniform. And it was for all the marbles, the state AAAA championship. His opponents, the Manheim Township Blue Streak, carried a 26-2 record into the game, winners of their last 15. Johnson was equal to task, going the distance, striking out seven and walking only two. The Warrior offense got him off to good start. Pat Smith lined the first pitch of the game for a solid double and the Warriors never looked back. Matt Arcardi led the offense with three RBI’s, Billy Phillips and Billy Poore added two each., while Chuck Strouse and Josh Navitsky had one apiece. Johnson had only one rough inning, the third, when Manheim scored their lone run when a walk forced it in. The Lancaster team didn’t manage more than a single hit in any inning. Several hundred Warrior fans made the trip, a larger contingent than had seen any home game during the season. When it was over, they roared when stadium announcer asked them welcome the new state champions. Presentations brought a moment of remembrance for teammate Ryan Quinn, who died two years ago in a car accident. The team carried his jersey with them. Coach Dave Peters said he couldn’t be prouder of his team. After last year’s loss at the district game in Scranton, “They made a commitment to this championship,” he said.