Timing is everything.
Conemaugh Township hasn’t had many home runs this season, but Jordan Shroyer got a huge two-run blast over the left-field fence in the top of the seventh on Wednesday afternoon in the District 5 Class A baseball title game against Meyersdale at Somerset Area High School.
The home run tied the contest and the Indians added two more runs to earn a 7-5 victory and their first district championship since 2005.
“I was 0 for 3 in my first three at-bats,” Shroyer said. “I hit the ball pretty shallow and I struck out. I knew that I couldn’t end my senior year with a strikeout.
“I got a second chance and I’m thankful. It was a fast ball and I wasn’t sure it went out until I got around first base and saw Coach Z (Sam Zambanini) jumping up and down. Then I started jumping up and down. I couldn’t even breathe.”
Shroyer said he knew that his Township teammates were serious about wanting to win the District 5 crown.
“We were off Monday because it was a holiday and we didn’t have a scheduled practice,” Shroyer said. “The seniors scheduled a practice and every single player showed up and that’s when I knew there was no way we were going to lose this District 5 championship game. There were no coaches there. It showed a lot of heart by my teammates.
“They came back from being down 5-0. There’s a lot of character on this team.”
Meyersdale got runners on base the first three innings, but was unable to advance them. In the fourth, the Red Raiders sent 11 batters to the plate and put five runs on the board.
The big hit in the frame was a double by Chris Schrock, who drove in two. There were five walks issued and an Indians error in the inning.
“As soon as we gave up the five runs, we got them together and said that we still have three cracks at it,” Township coach Sam Zambanini said. “That was key that they didn’t lost heart, didn’t give up and kept plugging away and did just enough things to get back in the game.”
The offensive output chased Indians’ starter Bruno Rosa and relievers Aaron Berger and Lucas Bailey.
Dillon Boyer came into the game in the fifth for Township and allowed just one hit, another Schrock double, through the final three innings.
Meanwhile, the Indians began to chip away at the Meyersdale lead, scoring a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to close to within 5-3 setting up the seventh-inning heroics.
“I think we’ve only had three home runs this season and Jordan picked a great time to blast his first one,” Zambanini said.
“That was a clutch hit. Jordan’s been a clutch guy and a leader who has led by example and has been vocal all season, too. We have a lot of seniors who have been leaders. It was nice to see him tie the game with that home run.”
Two hits and two Meyersdale errors put two more runs on the board for the Indians in the seventh. Boyer then coaxed two flyouts and a ground out to end the game.
Ben Shaw was 3 for 4 and Rosa scored twice for the Indians (16-7), who will take on the District 3 runner-up on Monday at McConnellsburg High School in the first round of the PIAA Tournament.
The Red Raiders ended the season 17-6.
“It was a really tough game,” Meyersdale coach Wayne Miller said. “I give Conemaugh Township all the credit in the world. When you’re down 5 in a district championship game and you come back and battle ... They earned it. There wasn’t a lot of cheap stuff there. They hit the ball hard, they had good at bats and they didn’t give up. Anytime you play a team like them, you have to capitalize on every possible opportunity. We had a chance when we had our lead to extend it a couple times and of course that became costly at the end.”