READING — Lancaster County Christian's Kyle Ebersole may only be a sophomore, but he pitched with the poise of a senior in his team's biggest game of the season.
Ebersole mixed a fastball, that hit 81 mph, with a devastating curveball to foil York Catholic's bid for a second straight District 3 Class A baseball championship.
Lancaster County Christian, which lost to the Fighting Irish, 7-1, in last year's title game, edged York Catholic, 2-1, in the title game on Thursday at First Energy Stadium.
Ebersole struck out 11 and walked four, one intentionally. The right-hander allowed only four hits.
"He was mixing it up, and we weren't used to seeing that many curveballs," York Catholic's Jake Krevetski said. "They (Lancaster County Christian) are more mature (than last year), and we came out flat. Maybe, we were intimidated by all those curveballs."
Krevetski definitely wasn't intimidated in the first inning, when he stepped to the plate and ripped a triple to the alley in right-center field. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, they weren't able to get Krevetski home.
"We couldn't get a clutch hit today," York Catholic head coach Joe Gurreri said. "That leadoff triple at the start of the game was huge. Their pitcher was throwing around 80, and he threw a really nasty curveball, which kept us off balance."
The Fighting Irish did break through for a run in the fifth when Clint Bohn's flyball to center field scored pinch runner C.J. Burnside from third base. Burnside ran for Mike Connor, who drew a walk and moved around to third on Miles Elliott's single and an error.
York Catholic left the bases loaded in the fifth — three of nine runners it stranded on the day.
Lancaster County Christian left eight runners on base, but the Lions scored just enough runs to capture their second district crown in the past three years.
Blake Petersheim's infield single delivered a run in the first inning, and a York Catholic error allowed Luke Dixon to race home with the second run in the second inning.
Bohn was the tough-luck losing pitcher. The Fighting Irish left-hander pitched scoreless ball over his final 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Krevetski, who got the last out in the sixth inning.
Bohn, the winning pitcher in the District 3 semifinal game against Millersburg, recorded five strikeouts and four walks.
"It took me a little bit of time to get used to the mound," Bohn said. "Their pitcher, he's the best pitcher we've seen this year. He had a pretty good curveball, and he could throw it at any point in the count."
York Catholic challenged Ebersole in its final at bat, using a hit batsman and a Bohn single to put runners on first and second with one out. The Lions' pitcher handled the challenge by retiring the next two batters on a strikeout and a flyball to center field, respectively.
Following the final out, players from both teams lined up on the baselines closest to the dugouts for the medal ceremony — just like they did in 2013. The difference this year was that Lancaster County Christian's players were awarded the gold medals.
The season didn't end on Thursday for either team, however.
Both the Fighting Irish and Lions will compete in the state Class A playoffs, which begin on Monday.
Lancaster County Christian will take on Juniata Valley, the runner-up team from District 6, while York Catholic will face the same team it met in the first round of states last year, Devon Prep. The suburban Philadelphia school, which captured the District 1 title this year, scored a 4-1 victory over the Fighting Irish last season.
— Reach Dick VanOlinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.