Kyle Datres had just finished pitching a complete-game one-hitter that lifted Loyalsock into the District 4 Class AA championship and the state tournament.
Instead of being treated like a star afterward, Datres received an unusual postgame assignment: laps. A few minutes after Loyalsock defeated Central 5-3 Thursday in the semifinals, Datres started running laps around the Bowman Field warning track. The laps were not punishment and are ordinary for pitchers cooling down after games.
But Datres is no ordinary pitcher.
The freshman right-hander pitched a second straight 1-hitter against 16-win Central and also went 2 for 4 with a go-ahead two-run single as Loyalsock won its 20th game and reached tonight's district final against rival South Williamsport. He improved to 9-0, threw 5 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball and has thrown consecutive one-hitters against the Blue Jays.
"Everything that has happened at Bowman Field and all the players that have been here, it's indescribable," Datres said. "I wasn't hitting my spots early but I had to pump the ball in there and let my fielders make the plays and I started doing that as I settled down."
Datres allowed only a sixth inning swinging bunt single down the third-base line to Dain Kowalski and added nine strikeouts. Loyalsock (20-2), though, actually trailed 2-1 after Central used three walks, a passed ball and a squeeze bunt to score two second-inning runs.
Instead of becoming flustered, Loyalsock turned offensive and scored three runs in the bottom of the inning. Robbie Kline walked and Nick DiFrancesco doubled before Datres scored both with a two-run single up the middle. Jimmy Webb reached on a fielder's choice, stole second with two outs and added a fourth run when Zack Clark hit a RBI single that made it 4-2.
"I think it showed them that we kind of took their best shot," Loyalsock coach Jeremy Eck said. "We come out and hang three on them right off the bat and take the lead again I think that was a huge statement that we made that inning."
Datres dominated from that point on and did not let another runner advance past second base after the third inning as Loyalsock reached states for the fourth time in five years.
"For Kyle to come back and start throwing strikes after having trouble early speaks to the character he has and the kind of competitor he is," Eck said. "Kyle can always flip the switch there. You know that at any time he can come out and start pumping strikes and getting out of innings in a hurry."
Central pulled within a run in the third inning when Lance McDanel reached first on a strike-three wild pitch and eventually came home on a first and third steal of home on a designed pickle play. Loyalsock produced a valuable insurance run in the fifth when Phil Krizan hit a RBI single that scored Ethan Moore from second.
The Lancers delivered timely hits throughout the game and finished with nine while completing a three-game sweep of Central. The Blue Jays suffered three of their five losses against Loyalsock and the Lancers were the only team that beat them in their last 10 games.
"Once we got a three-spot I went out there and hit my spots and made them put the ball in play and the fielders had my back," Datres said. "I calmed down and started hitting my spots."
Freshman Luke Glavin went 3 for 4 and was one of six Lancers who had at least one hit. This will be the third time in eight seasons Loyalsock and South have met in the district final but the first time that both teams will advance to states.
Central 021 000 0-3 1 1
Loyalsock 130 010 x-5 9 1
Brent Beaver, Adam Novak (2), Lance McDaniel (6) and Cody Bowman. Kyle Datres and Bailey Young. W-Datres, (9-0). L-Beaver.
Top Loyalsock hitters: Datres 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI, R; Nick DiFrancesco 1-3, 2B; Luke Glavin 3-4; Zack Clark 1-3, RBI; Phil Krizan 1-3, RBI.
Records: Loyalsock 20-2. Central 16-5.