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Baseball: 2017 PIAA Class 5A Semifinal Preview

Written by Keith Barnes on .

The game: PIAA Class 5A semifinals
The teams: Latrobe vs. Springfield-Delco
Where and when: Greene Township Park, Scotland, Monday, 4:30 p.m.
Up next: Winner plays Wallenpaupack-Whitehall winner in the PIAA championship Thursday at Penn State at 5:30 p.m.

Latrobe Wildcats
Record: 22-2
District finish: WPIAL champion
How they got here: (First round) Manheim Central, 5-4; (Quarterfinals) West Allegheny, 9-4.
What you should know: This is the first time Latrobe has gotten this close to a state championship, which shouldn't be much of a surprise considering that the Wildcats had not been to a WPIAL championship game in more than 30 years and won the school's first title this season. Latrobe has been winning games in dramatic fashion, coming from four runs down to win a 5-2 decision over Manheim Central in the first round of the state tournament as part of a run of taking three of its first four postseason tilts with runs in either the sixth or seventh inning. Starting pitcher Jared Kollar hit 100 pitches in his last outing, but should be rested and ready to go in this one.
Player to watch: Senior Zach Kokoska was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year and has done nothing in the playoffs to damage his credibility. When he isn't beating teams with his bat, the center fielder has come on and done yeoman's work on the mound. In the win over West Allegheny, he got the last four outs and the save to preserve the win.

Springfield-Delco Cougars
Record: 20-7
District finish: District 1 runner-up
How they got here: (First round) Franklin Towne, 15-0; (Quarterfinals) Cedar Cliff, 1-0.
What you should know: Springfield has never won a state title and has never appeared in a state championship game. Finished the regular season in a three-way tie for first place in the Central League with Harriton and Garnet Valley. Top pitcher is senior right-hander Jared Morris, who is 9-4 with a 1.56 ERA and has struck out 77 in only 67.1 innings. Has only allowed 45 hits and has a WHIP of 0.891. Senior Dave Strawley has three saves on the season. This is a team that needs a different player to come to the forefront every game because there is no big power bat or a guy hitting over .400. Senior Tom Quinn is the team's top-hitting starter and he's in at .321 and 15 RBIs.
Player to watch: Senior Andrew Todaro is only batting .221, but leads the team with two homers and 16 RBIs. Of his 17 hits, five have been for extra bases.