PIAA 6A Final Preview: Pennsbury vs. Dallastown

Pennsbury will face Dallastown at Penn State University’s Lubrano Park on Friday at 3:30 p.m.  Listen to a live broadcast of the game by WBCB 1490 by visiting the web site www.wbcb1490.com. Check back for a game story and photos.

The state tournament has not been particularly kind to District One champions.

Last year, Pennridge won the District One 4A title but fell to District Three’s third place squad, Cumberland Valley, in the opening round of states. A year earlier, district champ Council Rock North saw its season end at the hands of District 11 champion Parkland in the second round, and in 2014, district champion Methacton lost to PAC rival Spring-Ford in the quarterfinals.

One year earlier, North Penn demolished district champion Coatesville 11-1 in an abbreviated six-inning game in the quarterfinals. The Knights went on to win the state title. In 2012, Central Bucks South fell to District Three’s third place squad, Central Dauphin, in its state opener.

Spring-Ford was the last District One champion in the large school division to advance to the state title game. The Rams did it in 2011 but fell to district runner-up Conestoga in the championship contest.

Pennsbury – in its first ever trip to the state title game – is hoping to change that trend when it takes on Dallastown at Medlar Field on the campus of Penn State University Friday (3:30 p.m.).

“We were excited (when we won districts) but not satisfied,” senior Nate Derry said. “We’re just really close as a team, and everybody on the team has made it a goal since before the season even started to make it here.

“We just always believed in ourselves. Every single person will tell you the same thing. This has been our dream for four years – to win a state championship. Now we’re there.”

The nucleus of this year’s Falcon squad has been together a long, long time.

“It’s crazy because we have been playing with each other since elementary school,” Dave Murphy said. “We’ve been talking about this ever since we started in the winter, going as far as we can and playing together as long as we could. It’s working out.”

The secret to the team’s success, according to Murphy, is simple.

“I think we play together really well, and I think we have a lot of heart and know how to get things done at the right time,” he said. “It wins us ballgames.”

It also doesn’t hurt that the Falcons boast the kind of special chemistry successful teams routinely talk about but this group really has.

“I love these guys,” senior Billy Bethel said. “We’re together almost every day – at practice, after practice. It’s just real special to celebrate with these guys.

“We’ve been friends since seventh grade when we all started playing for the program. Just keep working, working and working, and all season we knew we had something special going on.”

Friday’s game will feature 23 seniors – 13 for Pennsbury and 10 for Dallastown. Both teams share a singular goal – sending their seniors out with a coveted state title.

“I tell these kids – you have something special going on,” coach Joe Pesci said. “You’ve got to end your careers on your terms. You can’t let somebody take it away from you, and these guys – they just gravitate towards each other. They are best friends, they are brothers. They want this for themselves, I think they want it for the coaches, and I think they want it for the area.

“We play in a really tough league and a really tough district. We’re the first team to get here from Pennsbury. The last Lower Bucks team was Council Rock South in 2012, and they lost to La Salle. We’re hoping we can come out and get a state title.”

On Friday, the Falcons will write the ending to a special season.

****

Sophomore Alex Weakland will get the starting nod for Dallastown. He has wins in the YAIAA title game (2-0 over Gettysburg) and the District 3 championship game (11-1 over Governor Mifflin). Nick Parker, who tossed a one-hitter in Monday’s 6-1 semifinal win over State College, will also be available.

#1-1 PENNSBURY vs. #3-1 DALLASTOWN (Penn State University, Medlar Field, Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Pennsbury

  • 21-6 overall
  • 10-2 SOL National Conference champions
  • District One 6A champion after entering tournament as the fourth seed
  • Falcons have shut out opponents eight times and have been shut out just twice
  • Offense led by senior Tyrone Hodges, sophomore Justin Massielo, senior Dave Murphy and senior Vaughn Ward
  • Pitching staff led by seniors Billy Bethel, Nick Price and Ryan McCarty   
  • Falcons take a 12-game winning streak into Friday’s state final.

How they got here: 

  • In Monday’s state semifinal, Pennsbury routed #11-1 Liberty 12-0 in an abbreviated five-inning contest. Billy Bethel earned the shutout win. Justin Massielo, Ryan McCarty and Nick Price had two hits each in a contest that saw all nine starters collect hits. Kyle Dear had three RBIs.
  • In a state quarterfinal, Pennsbury defeated #1-4 Perk Valley 3-0 behind the five-hit complete game shutout of Ryan McCarty. Dave Murphy and Billy Bethel each drove in a run.
  • In a state opening round game, Pennsbury downed #11-2 Parkland 2-1 in 11 innings, earning the walk-off win on Ryan McCarty’s sacrifice fly. Nick Price threw two shutout innings to earn the win. Billy Bethel and Nate Derry also turned in strong performances on the mound.
  • In the District One 6A title game, Pennsbury defeated #6 North Penn 5-3. Ryan McCarty earned the win, allowing eight hits and two runs in six innings while striking out two and walking one. The Falcons, who had just five hits, took a lead they would not lose in a four-run fourth.
  • In a 2-0 district semifinal win over #8 Neshaminy, Billy Bethel tossed a complete game three-hit shutout, striking out three and walking none. Kyle Dear, who was 1-for-2 with a double, drove in both runs.
  • Pennsbury defeated #12 Downingtown East 5-4 in a district quarterfinal contest. The Falcons trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh when they exploded for five runs, winning it on Ryan McCarty’s walk-off RBI single. McCarty had two of his team’s three hits. The Falcons benefitted from seven free passes and a pair of Cougar errors. Nate Derry, who pitched a scoreless seventh, earned the win.’
  • In a second round district game, Pennsbury defeated #13 Central Bucks East 4-2. John Tesarck, who doubled, drove in a pair, and Justin Massielo was 3-for-3 with an RBI.

Dallastown

  • 23-4 overall
  • Defeated Gettysburg to capture second consecutive YAIAA title
  • First District Three 6A title in program history
  • .288 team batting average
  • Offense is led by Joe Capobianco (.344, 22-of-64, 10 runs, 19 RBIs), Peter Capobianco (368, 32-of-87, 20 runs, 25 RBIs, eight doubles, three triples, one home run), Bryant Holtzapple (.325, 26-of-80, 15 runs, 22 RBIs), Tye Golden (21-of-69, 33 runs, 15 RBIs, nine double, one triple) and Zach Ness (18 RBIs).
  • Sophomore Alex Weakland (8-0, 0.99 ERA) and long reliever Jake Gates (7-0, 1.64 ERA) anchor a pitching staff with a team ERA of 1.52.
  • 20-game winning streak heading into the state final after opening season 3-4.

How they got here:

  • In Monday’s state semifinal, Dallastown defeated #6-1 State College 6-1. Nick Parker tossed a one-hitter to earn the win on the mound. George Washington-bound catcher Bryant Holtzapple’s two-run double in the bottom of the third gave the Wildcats a lead they would not lose.
  • In a state quarterfinal game, Dallastown scored three runs without a hit in the first inning of its 5-1 win over #12-2 St. Joseph’s Prep. Alex Weakland earned the win.
  • In an opening round state game, Dallastown defeated #1-5 Hatboro-Horsham 8-1. Nick Parker earned the complete game win, allowing one hit and retiring 15 straight to close out the game. Dallastown led 3-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth when it exploded for five runs. Highlights of the sixth inning were Tye Golden’s two-run double and Parker’s two-run triple.
  • In the District Three 6A title game, Dallastown rolled to an 11-1 rout of #1 Governor Mifflin in a game that was halted after six innings because of the mercy rule. Peter Capobianco was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Joe Capobianco was 3-for-4 with one RBI. Alex Weakland, who scattered three hits, earned the win.
  • In a district semifinal game, Dallastown defeated #3 Penn Manor 3-0. Nick Parker earned the complete game shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out eight.
  • In a second round district game, Dallastown routed #10 Manheim Township 9-2. Tye Golden (2-for-2, RBI), Nick Parker (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) and Peter Capobianco (1-for-3, 2 RBI) led the offense. Alex Weakland earned the win.