ASTON, Pa. – On the final day of the high school baseball regular season, and with both teams needing a win to be eligible for postseason play, St. Elizabeth and Mount Pleasant weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of their game May 22. OK, it was more than a little rain. More like a downpour. But the teams found refuge on the turf fields at the Maple Zone Sports Institute, then played a crisp seven innings.
When it was over, the two runs Mount Pleasant put on the board in the bottom of the first inning stood up. The Green Knights shut down the Vikings’ offense and left with a 2-0 win, although it was bittersweet. Their 9-9 record was not enough to earn a spot in the 24-team state tournament field, which was released Tuesday evening. For St. Elizabeth, the season also came to an end.
Green Knights starting pitcher Justin Jump surrendered just two hits all day, but he was in trouble right off the bat. The Vikings loaded the bases with one out on two walks sandwiched around a single by Jaden Dickerson, but Jump got out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
Justin Brooks, St. Elizabeth’s senior starter, picked up the first out on one pitch to open the bottom of the frame, but the Green Knights found their stroke after that. Stefan Haroldsson lined a single to center field, and Jump followed with a bloop single to left-center. The cleanup hitter, Christian Miller, drove a ball to the center field fence, scoring Haroldsson and Jump. Miller was out at third after oversliding the bag at third, and Brooks got out of the inning with the first of his 12 strikeouts.
The pitching took center stage after that. Jump retired 10 straight Vikings after loading the bases in the first, not allowing another runner until issuing a walk to C.J. Small with two outs in the fourth. St. Elizabeth had single runners reach in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, with Robert Falcone picking up the only other Vikings hit with a pinch single to lead off the seventh. Jump finished with nine strikeouts. Christian Green came in to get the final out.
Brooks was just as effective. After the first, the Green Knights had batters reach base in only the third and fourth innings, and the one in the fourth, Green, struck out but made it to first on a wild pitch. Brooks allowed just five hits and retired the last nine he faced, including striking out the side in the sixth.
The Vikings finished with a record of 8-10, with seven of those losses by one or two runs. Mount Pleasant finished 9-9.