Lancaster County Christian (19-2)
vs. Montgomery (20-2) at Bucknell University, 4 p.m.
Scouting LCC: The Lions mirror Montgomery in several ways. LCC is in the state semifinals for the first time and captured its first District 3 championship two weeks ago. LCC was formed two years ago after Living Word Academy and Lancaster Christian School merged. Neither of those schools ever advanced farther than the district semifinals. Like Montgomery, LCC is a resilient team that has come back to win several times, including in three straight playoff games. It turned a 3-1 third-inning deficit into a 10-3 district championship win over Camp Hill, a 5-0 fifth-inning deficit into a 6-5, 8-inning win against Lackawanna Trail in its state tournament opener and a 1-0 fifth-inning deficit into a 6-1 win over GAMP in last Thursday's quarterfinals. The Lions are an opportunistic team that plays good small ball and is adept at capitalizing on opponents' mistakes. They scored five fifth-inning runs on one hit against Lackwanna Trail, drawing seven fifth-inning walks and then winning with two outs in the eighth on Evan Geib's walk-off single. They were held to three hits against GAMP but took advantage of defensive mistakes and made sure those hits were timely ones. Pitcher Nate Burns threw a complete-game six-hitter and struck out six. He started against Lackawanna Trail and struck out four in three innings while allowing three hits and three runs. Freshman Jensen King pitched four strong innings of one-run baseball, striking out four to earn the win and improve to 9-0. He also earned the win against Camp Hill, throwing a four-hitter and striking out four. Josh Brubaker put LCC ahead against GAMP with a two-run single after Connor Blevins opened the inning with a lead-off infield single.
Scouting Montgomery: The Red Raiders are making a historic run similar to the one the softball team did two years ago when it reached the state final. Montgomery also is trying to become the first team in school history to win a team state championship. Montgomery has won six straight and blanked Camp Hill, 10-0, in the state quarterfinals. Garrett Shnyder threw his second straight complete-game three-hit shutout and struck out nine while also hitting a walk-off double. Every starter reached base at least once and Cameron McHenry hit a key two-run double. That was the second straight game McHenry came up with a big hit after he slammed an RBI triple in a 2-1, 8-inning first-round win over Pius X. The bottom of the order went 4 for 5 and reached base eight times while all three hitters had an RBI. Luke Forrestal went 2 for 2 and the defense played an error-less game. Montgomery was two outs away from being eliminated in the district semifinals against Sullivan County before John Goetz scored the game-tying run and then drove in the game-winner. His brother Thomas drew a bases-loaded walk to win the Pius game and Montgomery has won four walk-off games this year. It also has won six games in its final at-bat and handed Class AA state qualifier South Williamsport its first loss in 16 games when Cody Klees hit a ninth-inning walk-off single. Klees has two walk-off hits this season. Alex Worthington struck out 11 against Pius and pitched a complete-game eight-hitter. Shnyder has thrown 13 scoreless innings this postseason and earned wins in three of the team's four games. Montgomery is the first in program history to win a state tournament game and it has shattered the record for wins in a season.
Winner plays: District 9 runner-up Elk County Catholic or District 6 champion Bishop McCort
-by CHRIS MASSE