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Cossetti comes through, powers La Salle past Conestoga in PIAA-6A 1st round

La Salle’s Anthony Cossetti celebrates his homer during the Explorers' PIAA-6A first round game against Conestoga on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WARMINSTER >> Anthony Cossetti’s day in the sun ended with a big splash, the right fielder doused with a bucket of water by his La Salle teammates, and the Explorers went swinging hard into the PIAA-6A Quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory over Conestoga Monday.

With the score deadlocked at one apiece in the bottom of the the third inning, Cossetti belted a solo home run to left center to push the District 12 Champions into the lead for good on a sunny afternoon at Archbishop Wood.

“It’s the first home run of my career. I hadn’t even hit any in Little League,” said Cossetti, whose all-around skills are taking him to The Naval Academy next year. “So I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I thought I handled it pretty well.”

La Salle’s Joe Miller delivers a pitch during the Explorers’ PIAA-6A first round game against Conestoga on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Cossetti wasn’t finished.

In the Explorers’ next at-bat, he banged a triple off the top of the fence in left center, scoring a pair of runs to extend the margin to 4-1.

“I thought I hit that one harder. I’m not complaining. A triple’s a triple, and it scored two runs, and I think we needed those runs to really carry the momentum and win the game,” the senior said.

With the victory, La Salle — in states for the first time since the program captured the 2014 4A Title — will face Red Lion on Thursday.

Captain America

For the afternoon, Cossetti was 3-for-4 with a run scored, and he drove in all four of the Explorer runs.

“It speaks to his toughness,” La Salle coach Kyle Werman said. “Being a twin brother, and Andrew (who is headed to St. Joe’s) gets all the accolades, and he’s been the guy on the scene — this is his fourth year of varsity, Anthony kind of embraces that. He has the underdog mentality.

“He’s tough, and if you wanna battle, that’s the guy you wanna get behind. And he showed that today with some really tough at-bats against an arm (Jacob Marcus, who is headed to Richmond) he’s gonna see next year in college.”

La Salle’s Matt Acker forces out Conestoga’s Ryan Buck during their PIAA-6A first round game on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Cossetti’s heroics came at just the right time, breaking open a tight, low-scoring game controlled by Marcus and La Salle starter Joe Miller (8 K’s).

“Winning the first one is tough because you’re running into somebody’s ace,” Werman said. “And we faced that throughout the year. We ran into some really good arms in the Catholic League. I think our guys were prepared.

“The Marcus kid was really good. He had really good stuff, kept our guys off balance. Joe Miller’s had outings where he’s been crisper with secondary stuff and been able to cruise a little deeper. Today, he had to grind. But he had good enough stuff where (the Pioneers) were able to scratch one across and fortunately we could turn it over to Gavin (Moretski) and he did a good job of mixing up his pitches and getting us off the field.”

La Salle’s offense began with a triple by leadoff Eric Marasheski, and soon after Anthony Cossetti ripped a one-out, line-drive single to center to put the Explorers up 1-0.

It was just a preview of things to come, for a senior who is making every one of his last at-bats count.

Said Anthony Cossetti of leaving for The Naval Academy in less than a month:”It’s exciting and nerve-racking. I think I have 24 days left until I head down there. So I’m just trying to soak in my high school career. I don’t wanna take off this La Salle uniform until I absolutely have to.”

Conestoga’s Owen Margolis celebrates his run with teammate Ryan Buck during the Pioneers’ PIAA-6A first round game against La Salle on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

A great run for Stoga

The Pioneers tied the game at one apiece in the third, when Owen Margolis reached on an error, then came around to score later on a second error by La Salle.

Conestoga made some noise in the seventh, when Cam Marcus kept things alive with a two-out double to center, but Moretski was able to shut things down.

“Two great pitchers. They just battled on the mound all day long,” Pioneers coach Matt Diamond said of Miller and Marcus. “(La Salle) has a tough lineup up and down, but Marcus really showed his character. I’m just really so proud of the way our kids played. Those were two good baseball teams out there today.

“We had a heck of a ride. This group of seniors will never forget it.”

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