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SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A dominant Cody May and some opportunistic offense proved to be a winning formula for Kennedy Catholic on Monday.
May tossed six shutout innings, Nick Ondo slammed the door in the seventh and the Golden Eagles struck for a pair of runs in the third inning on their way to a 3-0 win over Cochranton in the District 10 Class 1A semifinal at Slippery Rock University.
There was a little bit of drama in the top of the seventh, as Cochranton loaded the bases, but Ondo was able to get a strikeout of Caiden Dunmire to end it.
“At no point did I ever lose confidence in my teammate,” May said. “I knew that Nick was going to get the job done. He’s a great young talent and he’s going to have a good future.”
The Cardinals’ first two batters of the game, Bryce McDonough and Wyatt Barzak reached on an error and base hit, but May picked McDonough off second base and, after a Josh Merchbaker single, got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
In the sixth, Caiden Dunmire walked and Jack Rynd singled with one out, but May was up to the task again. He induced a pop-out and then got a strikeout to end the threat.
“The first inning, I’ll admit I was a little tense,” May said. “You have to get the nerves out. But it’s that way with any game. You just have to have confidence in yourself and your teammates.”
Offensively, the Golden Eagles got to Merchbaker for a pair of runs in the third, courtesy of Santino Multari and a Cardinal miscue. Multari’s infield single brought in the first run of the game and an error on the throw allowed the second run to cross the plate.
Multari and May had some heads up baserunning to plate the third run in the fifth. With Multari on second base after a double, May hit an infield chopper and reached first and never stopped running. Cochranton was able to nab him at second, but not before Multari crossed home plate.
“That’s another instinctual sort of thing with Cody,” said Kennedy Catholic coach Steve Pinney. “He knew we needed to manufacture an insurance run, so he got hung up enough that allowed the guy on third to score, so again that’s a little bit of savviness and experience.”
May finished with seven strikeouts in his six innings of work. He allowed three hits and walked four
Stargell Fuhr had a pair of singles and a run scored for KC, as did Multari
“My biggest level of trust was to be able to have him come in and kind of establish that presence on the mound after such a long layoff,” Pinney said.
Merchbaker finished with 10 strikeouts in his 5 ⅔ innings of work for Cochranton. Only one of his runs allowed was earned. Merchbaker and Dunmire both reached base twice via a single and a walk apiece.
The Golden Eagles advance to Wednesday’s title game against either Saegertown or Rocky Grove with the win.
“Just play to the best of our abilities and the rest will fall into place,” May said.