Christy comes up clutch in extras in North Penn’s PIAA AAAA semifinal win

GREENE TOWNSHIP — Mike Christy needed to see just one pitch in top of the eighth inning to earn redemption.

The North Penn shortstop’s error in the bottom of the first led to a Shaler run and for most of Tuesday’s PIAA Class AAAA semifinal, that run appeared to be enough to end the Knights’ season at Greene Township Park.

But a seventh-inning rally by North Penn forced extras and with Anthony Cameron on second with one out, Christy more than made up for the miscue. The senior belted a first-pitch offering from Titans starter Jake Potock over the left-field fence for his first home run of the year.

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard,’ said Christy, who transferred to NP from Lansdale Catholic this year. “I got a first-pitch curveball, I just took advantage of it. I tried to hit it hard and that’s what I did.

The two-run blast gave North Penn its first and only lead it needed as Collin Healey shut the door in the bottom of the frame, putting Shaler down in order to send the Knights to the state final for the second time in three years and the third time in seven seasons.

“I had a feeling it was over the (left fielder’s) head, I just wanted it to be over his head so we could score a run,’ Christy said. “And obviously it went over the fence, that was awesome.

Home runs in Scotland seem to run in the family. Christy’s older brother Scott also blasted a two-run shot at Greene Township Park in the 12-1 state semifinal victory over North Allegheny in 2009. Scott’s longball came at the tail end of the route, giving Mike the leg up in the clutch department.

“I think I made I comment to Mike yesterday that his brother hits home runs, but he doesn’t,’ North Penn coach Kevin Manero said. “He jumped on the first good pitch he saw, he got the bat head through — when he swings well, he clears that bat head and he drives the baseball. Boy, he got every bit of that one.’

With two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the first, Christy bobbled a ground ball by Noah Seelhorst and could not give off a throw, allowing Alex Ficorelli to score from third.

“Honestly, recently I’ve been getting caught in between hops and stuff like that and I had to come all the way to it. Obviously, I didn’t make the play,’ Christy said. “I knew that our team is made of more than just losing 1-0 on an error. I knew that these guys had my back and in the end they did.’

North Penn starting pitcher Collin Healey put together a stellar outing to keep Shaler off the board after the first. But Potock allowed just two baserunners in shutting out the Knights over the first six frames.

Down to their last three outs, North Penn rallied to tie with a walk, two batters being hit by pitches and a Jake Schuster RBI sacrifice fly.

Anthony Cameron started the eight by golfing a single up the middle — the Knights’ first hit since Alex Peterson double in the fourth. A Matt Marino sac bunt moved Cameron to second, but it didn’t matter where he was when Christy connected on Potock’s initial offering.

Christy was 0-for-3 against Potock before that — a fly out in the first a strike out in the third and a ground out in the sixth. But he needed to get the best of the West Virginia commit once to send the Knights to State College.

“I knew what was coming, because it was there all game,’ Christy said. “I just took advantage of it.’

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