SPRINGFIELD>> It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
When Upper Moreland saw its PIAA playoff matchup was against Archbishop Wood, let’s say optimism wasn’t part of the game plan.
But then the Golden Bears didn’t take into account the pitching prowess of Brandon Kohn.
The Bears right-hander was spectacular Monday afternoon, holding the District 12 champs to just four hits over six-and-two-thirds innings as the Bears stunned the Vikings, 2-0, to advance to the PIAA Class 5A quarterfinals.
The Bears got single runs in both the second and seventh innings and the Vikings were stymied by Kohn as Upper Moreland advanced to meet Whitehall, a winner over Daniel Boone, Thursday at a time and site to be determined.
“We played excellent baseball today,” said Upper Moreland head coach Dan Heiland, “and that’s what we needed to do to beat an excellent team like Archbishop Wood.
“I’m very proud of our effort, from our top guy on down.”
The Bears scratched out a pair of runs, getting single tallies in the second on Dawson Ruggles’ RBI ground out and another in the seventh on a Vikings error.
And in-between Kohn was nothing less than terrific.
The right-hander wriggled out of first-inning trouble when he pitched around one-out singles by Kyle McNamee and Mike Ferrara, then stayed out of trouble the rest of the way.
“We’re not making mental mistakes, and that’s what we needed to do if we were going to beat good teams like Wood,” Kohn said. “We have to play this way the rest of the way, and I think we can do it.”
Wood, coming off its fourth straight District 12 championship, threatened in both the third inning, when the Vikings got a pair of runners on with two out, and in the fifth, when Greg Cannon opened the inning with a double to deep left-center field.
But in both cases, Kohn found the necessary pitches to escape trouble.
Wood head coach Jim DiGuiseppe took the loss well, saying he was proud of his team’s season, even though it did not have the desired result.
“We stress to our guys about making the routine play, and we didn’t do that a couple times of times today,” the coach said. “But as I told our guys, you can’t let one game take away from the real good season we had.”
UPPER MORELAND 2, ARCHBISHOP WOOD 0
Upper Moreland 010 000 1 – 2
Archbishop Wood 000 000 0 – 0
WP – Brandon Kohn
LP – Jack Colyar
Save – Kody Kracknell
2B – Greg Cannon (AW).
S-Kevin Walder (UM); Matt Wistler (UM).