skip navigation

BASEBALL: La Salle Falls Just Short in PIAA 6A State Championship

By Mike Livingston. Photos: Kyra Birmingham, 06/19/24, 2:15PM EDT


Photos: Kyra Birmingham

By: Mike Livingston

STATE COLLEGE, PA - La Salle College High School was looking for a repeat of a magical 2021 season. It was a year in which the club took home the coveted Philadelphia Catholic League title along with a PIAA 6A State Championship.

Nonetheless, even with one of the most potent three headed monsters on the mound, a 13 game win streak in their wake and a seemingly unbreakable relent throughout their state playoff run - La Salle fell just short to Hempfield High School in the state title game Thursday evening at Medlar Field on the campus of Penn State University. The Explorers dropped the game 3-2 despite some late-game heroics.

Following a quick two innings to begin the game, where both pitchers - Jack Pye and Brody Gebhard pitched shutouts, Hempfield struck. The Black Knights came in with two outs in the top of the third inning and rallied.

First a walk from Dylan Jackson - then another for Logan Dougherty set the stage for Pye to load the bases up by hitting Josh Toole. Brayden Hostetter then took advantage by cracking a two-run single to right field. 

Finally, an error by Andrew Bogansky at third base allowed yet another run to cross - making it 3-2 Hempfield by the inning’s close.

It was here when La Salle manager Kyle Werman made his first and only call to the bullpen, bringing in his closer Cole Kochanowicz who had a 3-0 record and 1.82 ERA coming into the night.

Kochanowicz would carry La Salle through the rest of the game and not allow another run for the Explorers.

Despite the strong efforts on the mound, the La Salle offense could not capitalize much for the rest of the evening.

A passed ball in the bottom of the fourth inning allowed a pesky Liam Hawley to run home making it 3-1 La Salle.

In the bottom of the sixth as well, La Salle got a spritz of hope Kevin Schmidt singled to center field which brought home Matt Gannon.

Regardless of the vital run and another huge 1-2-3 inning from Kochanowicz La Salle fell short in the seventh and final inning.

A double from Andrew Bogansky got things started in the inning and a sacrifice bunt from Antonio Astolfi made things interesting as Bogansky advanced to third base as the tying run with just one out. Nonetheless, Gebhard locked in on the last two batters striking out Casey Nealson and Hawley in back-to-back at bats, ending the game.

The state title win was Hempfield’s first in the school’s 68-year history. While La Salle fell short of earning the school’s fourth and second under Werman.

The Explorers culminated their 2024 season with a 24-4 record, as Philadelphia Catholic League champions, PIAA District XII champions, and as PIAA 6A State title runners up.

Story by Archbishop Carroll Jr. Reporter Mike Livingston Twitter: @liv_twts22

Please contact Kyra Birmingham to purchase photos from the PIAA 6A championship